Agence France-Presse

Egypt intercepts weapons cache believed bound for Sinai

An Egyptian truck carrying armoured vehicles through El-Arish on the Sinai Peninsula in 2011.



CAIRO, Egypt -- Authorities intercepted dozens of munitions believed bound for the country's increasingly restive Sinai region, a police official today told the Associated Press

The news comes as Egypt holds its first presidential debate in the weeks leading up to the country's historic election following last year's ousting of President Hosni Mubarak. 

Officials said the munitions horde consisted of dozens of surface-to-surface missiles, a number of grenade launchers equipped with rockets, 10,000 shells of artillery, and various other items, the police official told AP. Three people were reported arrested.

The delivery, intercepted northwest of Cairo resort city of Marsa Matrouh, is thought to have come en route Libya, where smuggling is on the rise due to continuing political instability there, said AP

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An interior ministry official told the MENA news agency that the weapons were likely bound for the Sinai Peninsula, where attacks against government forces have been escalating over the past several weeks, said Bloomberg

The area has recently seen a rise in Islamic militant activity, threatening to further complicate a long history of tension between Egyptian security forces and the local Bedouin population.

The tribes recently demanded that the state release Beduin prisoners jailed under Mubarak's administration.

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