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Fewer Iranian arms reach Gaza

  |   July 17, 2009 at 7:06 AM
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JERUSALEM, July 17 (UPI) -- Operation Cast Lead reduced the scope of Iran's arms smuggling to Hamas in Gaza, Israeli and western intelligence officials said.

The officials said cooperation with Egypt has improved since the military operation and both sides coordinate moves by phone, Haaretz reported Friday.

Iran ships the arms from Bandar-Abbas to Yemen then to a Sudanese port, the report said. From there they are transported by professional smugglers to Egypt and to Rafah and via tunnels to Gaza, the report said.

The weapons are mainly Chinese, with some manufactured in Iran, the paper said.

Rafah, which straddles the Egyptian-Gaza border, charges a $2,500 license fee for a new tunnel, the report said,

More than half of the 16,000 Gazans who work in the tunnels are less than 18 years old, the paper said quoting statistics taken from a study by the Palestinian Center for Democracy and Conflict Resolution.

Since January, Israel has reportedly carried out three air strikes on Iranian shipments passing through Sudan en route to Gaza, Haaretz said.

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