Egyptians close in on Iranian-Hizballah arms-smuggling base in Sinai

According to debkafile‘s military sources, Egyptian security forces are closing in on a secret Iranian-Hizballah headquarters in central Sinai which has been organizing the flow of smuggled arms to Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Cairo’s intelligence points to three possible locations: Wadi Umar or neighboring Nahel, Beir Hasneh and Badr al Hittain.
As part of the operation, a 500-strong Egyptian force in armored vehicles carried out a surprise raid on Bedouin territory Monday, April 13. They found nothing but sparked a confrontation with the tribes. The Bedouin chiefs accused Cairo of violating the treaty between them by entering their territory without warning; they threatened a general lockdown in reprisal.
Under the same treaty, the chiefs are obliged to report to the Egyptian authorities on any foreigners present. Cairo suspected them of holding back this information and covering up for the Iranian-Hizballah smuggling command center.
Monday night, substantial Egyptian strength was pumped into Sinai to wipe out the Iranian-Hizballah smuggling center and hold the Bedouin in check. The only part of the operation Cairo admitted was that a large-scale firefight had erupted in central Sinai between Egyptian forces and local Bedouin.
debkafile‘s sources report that when the Egyptians and Bedouin last got into a fight in November 2008, the tribesmen seized control of the chain of 14 Egyptian military posts along the Israeli border after driving the troops out.
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