Egypt has seized a cache of explosives in a mountainous area near its border with Israel, a security source said on Friday, one day after 26 people were arrested on suspicion of targeting the Suez Canal.
In the latest of crackdowns on terror cells, an unnamed Egyptian security source said 700 kg (1,540 lb) of explosives were on Thursday evening in a mountainous area south of el-Arish and was likely to be smuggled to Gaza.
The source added that residents had alerted security forces to the cache, which was buried two meters (6.6 feet) below the ground. No one was arrested, but there was evidence the cache had been used recently, the source said.
On Thursday, Egypt's interior ministry said it had arrested 26 people suspected of plotting to target oil pipelines and foreign ships in the Suez Canal, which separates the Sinai Peninsula from the rest of Egypt.
Egyptian security found evidence that the group, some of whom were technologically savvy engineers, maintained communication with al-Qaeda abroad and other terror networks using complex devices as well as cell phones and the internet.
Abdul Rahim Ali, director of the Arab Center for Research and Studies, told Al Arabiya members of the cell caught Thursday had entered Gaza through the assistant of a Palestinian named Abu Gazar.
Ali said that the investigation remains in its infancy and that the links between the group arrested and the Army of Islam, a Palestinian faction in Gaza, remains unclear.
Egypt has taken a tough line again smugglers and migrants seeking to move goods and people across the borders with both Israel and the Gaza Strip. Police shot dead at least 28 African migrants at the border last year.
The government stepped up security measures against smugglers in April after prosecutors accused Lebanese group Hezbollah of planning attacks in Egypt through a group of 49 men.