Libyan Weapons Show Up in Sinai, Egypt Junta Warns

Surface-to-Air Missiles May Make Constant Israeli Bombings of Gaza Less Convenient

by Jason Ditz, October 12, 2011

A large number of smuggled weapons from neighboring Libya are showing up inside Egypt, Egyptian junta officials in Cairo warn. But the missiles aren’t showing up near the Libyan border, instead popping up in arms markets on the opposite side of the country, in the Sinai Peninsula.

Weapons of all shapes and sizes are reported, but perhaps the biggest concern is that Egyptian military officials have intercepted some shoulder-mounted surface-to-air missiles (SAMs), something NATO officials have confirmed left the country in large amounts.

It isn’t too hard to imagine why there’d be a particular demand for SAMs in Sinai, which borders the Gaza Strip. Israeli warplanes are bombing the tiny strip pretty much constantly, and the militant factions inside Gaza have no real anti-aircraft capabilities.

If the missiles do end up in Gaza, the Israeli bombing runs will be considerably less convenient. This could be just the first of issues created by the SAMs, as experts say enough missiles went missing to turn the entire north of Africa into a “no-fly zone.”

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