An Egyptian court sentenced a Ukrainian and two Israelis on Monday to life in prison on charges of smuggling weapons into Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula from Israel, Egyptian and Israeli media quoted court officials as saying.
The Ukrainian and one of the Israelis are being held by the Egyptian authorities while the second Israeli citizen has been tried in absentia, according to court officials.
“They will be sent to jail immediately,” Bikyamasr website quoted one official as saying. “The judge said Egypt will not tolerate any attempt to create chaos in the country.”
The Israeli, Muad Zahalka, and the Ukrainian, Eduard Bablovich, who were sentenced at the Ismailia Criminal Court, have been held in custody since October 2011.
Bablovich, who managed a tourism company in the Egyptian resort town of Sharm el-Sheikh, is alleged to have ordered machineguns and ammunition from one of the Israeli citizens.
Israeli daily Ynet quoted Egyptian authorities as saying Zahalka brought the weapon into Egypt at the border at Taba in a cross-shaped wooden crate.
Authorities seized the weapons after the crate was placed on an explosives detection machine.
Bablovich told the court he ordered the weapons for self-protection whereas Zahalka denied he knew what was in the box.
In February, an Australian and German who worked in a security firm were arrested at Cairo International Airport over suspected smuggling of weapons into Egypt.