An article published today in Egypt’s Al-Akhbar daily provides a comprehensive look into the booming arms market that has arisen in the Sinai Peninsula over the last decade.
According to the Hebrew-language paper Maariv, Egyptian security sources told the Egyptian daily details about how, despite Hosni Mubarak’s grip on power, in 2000 arms dealers began to smuggle weapons from Egypt including Kalashnikov assault rifles and machine guns .
The turning point came in 2002, when a new smuggling route from Jordan opened. Traders transferred M-16 rifles in boats from Aqaba to the shores of the Red Sea. They then moved the weapons to Kuntilla, Egypt where they were stored in the northern part of the Sinai, with weapons then making their way to Gaza via tunnel.
The fall of Libyan leader Muammar Gaddafi last year created a new supply line for the terrorist organizations, the paper reports.
A price list provided in the article shows the relative affordability, as well as the obvious organization, of the arms trade:
Normal gun – between 11 thousand to 12 thousand Egyptian pounds (roughly $1,800-$1,900)
Kalashnikov assault rifle – 18 thousand pounds (roughly $2,950)
M-16 – 25 thousand to 35 thousand Egyptian pounds (roughly $5,735)
Rifle bullet – Egyptian Pound to seven Egyptian pounds (roughly $.16 -$1.15)
Grenade – 100 Egyptian pounds (roughly $16)
Anti-aircraft missile – 70 thousand Egyptian pounds (roughly $11,475)