Egypt said that arms smuggling from its territory to the Gaza Strip has diminished since Hamas took over Gaza.
Egyptian officials took reporters on a tour of the Gaza-Egypt border this week in a bid to demonstrate their efforts to stop gunrunning across the border, which has been a major grievance for Israel. According to the officials, Hamas’ violent takeover of Gaza after a civil conflict with Fatah rivals last month heralded a dramatic drop-off in smuggling.
Yet some observers pointed out that much of the diminished smuggling activity could be attributed to a decline in the smuggling of drugs, which is anathema to the Islamist Hamas. Hamas also faces no immediate need for small arms, having confiscated thousands of rifles from Fatah militiamen.
Egypt has been under U.S. pressure to help isolate Hamas in Gaza, with Congress proposing a reduction of $200 million in annual military aid to Egypt unless Cairo shows progress.