Egyptian security forces destroyed a number of Hamas arms warehouses near the northern Sinai Peninsula in recent months, Israeli officials told The Times of Israel.
The weapons depots constituted the Islamist group’s logistic rear front, and the Egyptians reportedly also shut down arms workshops in Sheikh Zuweid which produced arms for Hamas.
Near those workshops, Hamas also operated firing ranges for testing rockets in the months before the Egyptian campaign, the officials said.
According to the Israeli sources, before the Egyptian revolution in 2011, whole sections of Sheikh Zuweid were considered extraterritorial for the Egyptian military, and Hamas therefore decided to locate its warehouses, test ranges and workshops there. Being in Egyptian territory, they would also be impervious from Israeli attack. The Israelis noted that the workshops were not large in scale and only a small portion of Hamas’s arms were produced there.
Egyptian security officials confirmed that there were storehouses in Shiekh Zuweid containing arms destined for Hamas, but they denied the presence of any workshops.
Bedouin tribes in the northern Sinai recently surrendered a stockpile of dozens of anti-tank missiles to the Egyptian authorities.
Relations between Hamas and Cairo broke down in recent months following the ouster of Egypt’s Islamist president Mohammed Morsi by the military.
Egypt even referred to Hamas in the charge sheet against Morsi as a “terror organization.” Meanwhile, amid sour relations between Cairo and Gaza, Hamas leader Mahmoud al-Zahar said that the Islamist terror group had renewed its relations with Tehran, in part due to the change in government there.