Israel-Egyptian crossing at Taba
Israel-Egyptian crossing at Taba Israel news photo: Flash 90

Egypt’s state prosecutor on Monday charged two Israeli-Arabs and a Ukrainian with smuggling weapons and trying to implicate Egyptian security, The Associated Press reported.

A statement from the prosecutor’s office said the three would be tried in an emergency state security court, a court usually reserved for terrorism cases.

The statement said the smuggled weapons were to be used in “illegal” operations aimed to implicate Egyptian security, but did not directly hold the suspects responsible for any of the violence following the uprising that resulted in the ouster of former President Hosni Mubarak.

According to the statement the first suspect, an Israeli-Arab resident of Eilat, Moaz Zahalka, arrived at the Israel-Egypt border crossing at Taba, carrying a large wooden box shaped like a cross. Upon inspection, the statement said, officials found an automatic rifle and ammunition in the box.

The statement said that during interrogation Zahalka, a tour agent, confessed that he had two accomplices, a Ukrainian living in the Egyptian resort of Sharm el-Sheik and another Israeli-Arab who the Ukrainian had asked to send him the weapon. The statement said Zahalka frequently visits Egypt’s Red Sea resorts.

Zahalka and the Ukrainian are in custody, but the other Israeli-Arab, who has been named as Mamun Al-Alimi, has not been apprehended. The prosecution said he will be tried in absentia.