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Alleged Use of Iranian Arms by ISIS in Sinai Draws in Investigations | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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An Egyptian military vehicle is seen on the highway in northern Sinai, Egypt, in this May 25, 2015 file photo. Reuters

Tel Aviv, Cairo-A large-scale investigation has been launched over allegations that Iran is supplying Ansar Bait al-Maqdis with weapons in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula, Israeli and Egyptian sources said.

A reliable Israeli source stated that information published in Israel Defense Magazine about discovering Iranian weapons with ISIS fighters in Sinai is under investigation for the past months in Egypt, Israel and other countries.

“There are pictures and videos that prove this fact,” said the source, adding “the probe is currently focusing on whether the weapons were smuggled from Hamas-ruled Gaza.”

Experts told Asharq Al-Awsat newspaper that there might be indirect relations between Tehran and Ansar Bait al-Maqdis, which is considered one of the most powerful extremist groups that appeared in the Sinai Peninsula and pledged allegiance to ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in November 2014.

An Israeli source said that half of the weapons owned by ISIS are U.S.-made but experts have recently realized that ISIS possesses arms made in China, Russia and Iran. “In the Middle East, the arms smuggling industry is huge and not only terrorist organizations get involved but also countries and intelligence bodies as well,” said the source.

“Israel is following up this matter anxiously and sharing information with its friends in the region in order to coordinate and reinforce ways to combat terrorism,” he added.

Military Expert Jamal Mazloum did not rule out the possibility of Iranian attempts to deliver weapons to opponents in Arab countries and Egypt specifically to Ansar Bait al-Maqdis. According to Mazloum “some said ISIS was made in Iran, others said Turkey, and a third team said it was made in the U.S.”

Mazloum said: “Iran always supports chaos in the Arab World.”

Ansar Bait al-Maqdis appeared following the January 25 revolution that toppled president Hosni Mubarak. But since the ouster of president Mohammed Morsi in 2013, it has been targeting militants, Egyptian security guards, security points and tourist busses.

Fars News Agency quoted a source at the ministry of foreign affairs as saying that claims made by some Israeli websites about Iran selling weapons to ISIS in Sinai are false.