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News Brief


In Sharm el-Sheik on Wednesday, Ehud Barak complained to Egypt about arms smuggling under the Egypt-Gaza border.

Barak, on his first official visit to Egypt since becoming defense minister, presented evidence to Egyptian president Hosni Mubarak of Egyptian soldiers helping smuggle Hamas members and arms into Gaza.

Israel sent videotapes of this smuggling activity to Washington last week, which could result in convincing the U.S. Congress to withhold millions of dollars in foreign aid to Egypt.

Egyptian Intelligence Minister Omar Suleiman, who also met with Barak, promised Egypt would do everything in its power to stop Hamas arms smuggling into Gaza, Israel Radio reported.

Mubarak criticized Israel’s plans to build 307 housing units in Har Homa, a neighborhood located in eastern Jerusalem. “The failure of two rounds of negotiations between the Israeli and the Palestinian sides this month is due to the Israeli settlement activity,” he told reporters after the meeting.

The talks were also to focus on Egypt’s attempts to mediate a deal between Israel and Hamas to broker the release of captive IDF soldier Gilad Shalit in exchange for Palestinian prisoners held in Israel. Discussion of a ceasefire between Israel and Hamas in Gaza was also scheduled to be on the agenda.

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