Egyptians found arms-smuggling tunnel under Gaza border

Egypt said it had found an arms-smuggling tunnel under the Gaza border Wednesday as Palestinians crossing the frontier were warned to return by sunset when passport controls will be reimposed.

Egyptian border guards discovered the tunnel in the al-Duhniya area, four kilometers (2.5 miles) south of the Rafah crossing point, on Tuesday evening, a security official said.

The tunnel contained 38 firearms and three rocket propelled grenades, the official added, speaking on condition of anonymity as he was not authorized to speak to the press, the AP informs.

The tunnel penetrated to the Palestinian side of the frontier, and Palestinian security forces seized the weapons on Wednesday, the official said.

The smuggling of weapons from Egypt was a major concern of the Israeli military administration that ruled the Gaza Strip from 1967 until Monday. The Israeli withdrawal was conditional on Egypt's deploying troops along the border to prevent arms smuggling.

Meanwhile, Palestinian security forces stationed on the frontier warned people Wednesday that their three days of free-and-easy crossing would come to an end at 6 p.m. local time (1500 GMT). Since the Israelis withdrew on Monday morning, tens of thousands of Palestinians in Gaza have crossed the border to see relatives who live on the Egyptian side and to go shopping, as Egyptian prices tend to be lower.

"Anyone found on the Egyptian side after 6 p.m. will be considered an infiltrator," a Palestinian border guard said in a message blared through loudspeakers.

Late Tuesday, the Palestinian Authority warned that normal immigration controls would be imposed on Wednesday evening.

The crossing to Egypt is Gaza's only land link to the outside world that does not pass through Israel.

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