Palestinians smuggle weapons from Egypt into Gaza
Black market prices for weapons and bullets have dropped sharply in Gaza in recent days because of intensive smuggling across the wide-open Gaza-Egypt border, Palestinian officials and arms smugglers said today.
The frontier used to be heavily guarded by Israel, but thousands have crossed in both directions since Israeli troops withdrew on Monday. Israel has filed a complaint with Egypt, amid growing concerns that weapons and militants would reach Gaza.
An arms dealer said the price of an AK-47 assault rifle has dropped from around Â£1,000 (â‚¬1,484) to around Â£650 (â‚¬965). Bullets for the weapon are now being sold for as little as three shekels (around 50p) when previously they cost up to 18 shekels.
Egyptian-made pistols that were recently sold in Gaza for Â£700 (â‚¬1,039)can now be bought for as little as Â£90 (â‚¬133), while an Italian pistol can be bought for Â£200 (â‚¬297), down from a previous high of Â£1,750 (â‚¬2,600), said the dealer, who identified himself only as Khader.
Most of the arms were bought from Bedouins and farmers on the Egyptian side of the border, Khader said. A Palestinian border control officer confirmed arms have been smuggled into Gaza, bringing down prices.
Israel has long been concerned that once it withdraws from the border, arms and militants would be freely smuggled into Gaza.
Gazans have been moving across the border unhampered since Israel withdrew on Monday, buying cigarettes, cheese, petrol and even goats. Many have enjoyed seaside meals at Egyptian resorts, and reunited with family they have been unable to see for years due to Israelâ€™s fortress-like guard of the border.
Bloody backstabbing Egyptian bastards.