By Maayana Miskin

( Egyptian officials announced Monday that police had seized 450 kilograms (about half a ton) of explosives near Gaza. The explosives were apparently going to be smuggled to Gaza terrorists.

Egyptian police have located dozens of large caches of explosives in the Sinai Peninsula over the past several months, but Israeli defense officials have warned that an even greater quantity of explosives and other weapons are successfully smuggled into Gaza. Egyptian authorities argue that they need more troops in the area in order to end weapons smuggling. Any increase in troops in the Sinai requires Israel’s approval.

The weapons and bombs are brought in via a tunnels network under southern Gaza. In addition, smugglers sometimes wrap weapons in waterproof packaging and drop them off the Gaza coast, intelligence experts say. The packages are then collected by Gaza terrorists posing as fishermen. Weapons smuggling has continued despite the destruction of hundreds of smuggling tunnels during the Cast Lead counterterrorism operation in Gaza earlier this year.

Following the operation, several European countries promised to assist Egyptian troops in fighting weapons smuggling to Gaza.

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