Weapons are smuggled into Gaza from Israel, says Egyptian human rights official

Egypt has proof that the majority of weapons that are smuggled into the Gaza Strip come from Israel, said the general secretary of Egypt’s National Council for Human Rights Mukhlis Qutb.

In an interview with the state owned Al-Ahram newspaper, Qutb said Egypt has the necessary documentation and confessions proving that weapons are smuggled into Gaza by people possessing Israeli citizenship.

He also alleged that some members of the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF) are involved in the smuggling and selling of Israeli weapons to the Strip. Qutb added that the deals and payment for the weapons are struck inside Israel.

Qutb did not show any documents to prove his allegations, but said that Egypt would never allow its border to be used for weapons smuggling. He also said that Egypt would refuse any security pact between the United States and Israel stipulating the presence of foreign monitors on its territory because this goes against its national security interests.

The tunnels between the Egypt-Gaza border were bombed consistently during the 22-day offensive Israel conducted on Gaza because Israel believes weapons going to Hamas come through these tunnels.

Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni told Israeli public radio Thursday that the option to bomb the tunnels once more was still on the table.

“If we have to act, we will do so, we will exercise our right to legitimate defense, we will not leave our fate … to the Egyptians nor to the Europeans, nor to the Americans,” she said.

Israeli Defense Minister Ehud Barak had given similar comments to Israeli public television earlier in the day, saying, “If we are forced to, there will be more attacks.”

Gaza-based Hamas officials entered Egypt Friday to hold further talks with Egyptian mediators on maintaining the ceasefire a day after IDF representative Amos Gilad was in Cairo for the very same reason.
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