Israeli woman detained in Egypt for 40 hours after bullets found in guitar case

M-16 rifle ammunition dated back to her army service; tourist held by Egyptian authorities before being released and returning home

The Taba border crossing between Israeli and Egypt, February 15 2011. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)
The Taba border crossing between Israeli and Egypt, February 15 2011. (Nati Shohat/Flash90)

An Israeli woman was arrested Friday by Egyptian authorities after rifle bullets were found in her guitar case as she passed through a border crossing from Israel to the Sinai Peninsula.

Border officials found 16 rounds of M-16 rifle ammunition in her bag, which were left over from her service in the Israeli army, the Foreign Ministry said in a statement Sunday.

The woman, 23, was arrested at the Taba border crossing between Israel and Egypt and held for 40 hours before facing a judge in the town Nuweiba who released her. She then returned to Israel.

Israel’s consul in Cairo, Dudu Ben Kalifa, along with the Foreign Ministry, were in contact with Egyptian authorities to assist in resolving the issue, the ministry said.

Young Israelis, who generally serve some three years in the military, occasionally get caught inadvertently carrying bullets or other army gear in their luggage when they travel abroad.

The ministry urged Israeli travelers to check their bags for any residual bullets or parts of weapons dating from their time in the army.

“In light of many incidents in which civilians didn’t check their belongings and as a result were forced to pay a heavy price, the Foreign Ministry implores travelers to carefully check their belongings and so avert unnecessary aggravation to themselves and their families,” the ministry said.

Illustrative photo of female soldiers in the IDF during training, July 13, 2016. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

Sinai is a popular destination for Israeli tourists.

In March, two Israelis were arrested at the Taba border crossing after a search of their bags turned up bullets.

Last year, an Israeli man was held by Egyptian authorities for some 30 hours after he was arrested at the border with a weapon magazine in his car. He was fined an unspecified amount.

Over the past few years, half a dozen Israelis traveling to Azerbaijan, Uzbekistan, and Egypt were detained by local authorities for traveling with bullets in their bags.

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