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Thursday, April 10, 2008

Egypt finds huge explosives and weapons cache

Al-Ahram reports that Egyptian forces discovered a large cache of weapons and explosives in the Sinai, 60 kilometers from Gaza.

Found with the help of local Bedouin, it included 1250 kg (nearly 1.4 tons) of explosives, 24 anti-tank mines, and assault rifles.

I believe that this is the largest find of its kind - over the past couple of months Egypt has found caches of 100 kg, 250 kg (in a cemetery) and 500 kg as well as some smaller finds.

Meanwhile, the New York Times reports on how serious Hamas is on upping its military capabilities:
According to a report by the Shin Bet internal security services quoted in the study, Hamas has smuggled at least 80 tons of explosives into Gaza since last summer. That smuggling accounts for more than half the amount moved into Gaza since Israel’s withdrawal, evidence of the intensification, the study asserts.

The study also says Hamas has obtained advanced anti-tank devices like those used by Hezbollah against Israel in its war in 2006, as well as powerful roadside bombs for use in border areas where Israeli vehicles might be expected to pass in pursuit of rocket launchers. It added that hundreds of fighters had been trained in Iran, Lebanon and Syria. The study cites few sources other than several media reports, but Israel is known to be engaged in intelligence collection in Palestinian areas.

Some Israeli analysts say that is what Israel should do. The study, however, asserts that any kind of truce would allow Hamas to build its military structure further, although it also says Hamas’s big worry is that Israel will reinvade Gaza. Such a concern is one motivation for the buildup, the study says.

Of course, such an increase in explosives also means more Palestinian Arabs will end up dead, as this AP photo from yesterday shows:

A Palestinian militant sets up an improvised explosive device at a street corner in Gaza City, near the Nahal Oz crossing between the Gaza Strip and Israel Wednesday, April 9, 2008 in case Israeli troops enter the area.

What AP fails to notice is that the children right next to this IED, being placed in a crowded city, are far more likely to be killed by it than any Israeli soldiers.