Report: Egypt caught secretly buying weapons from North Korea

Egypt has been secretly purchasing weapons from North Korea, in breach of UN sanctions, the Washington Post reported.  

Egypt has secretly ordered weapons from North Korea in breach of United Nations (UN) sanctions, with the shipment exposed by the US, the Washington Post reported Sunday.

According to the report, a bulk freighter named Jie Shun flying Cambodian colors that had sailed from North Korea was discovered by the US in the Suez Canal in August. Egypt was notified about the suspicious vessel, but it turns out the vessel was intended for them.

The ship was raided, and officials found a cache of more than 30,000 rocket-propelled grenades concealed under 2,300 tons of loose yellow rocks called limonite, a kind of iron ore.

All rounds were for practice, fitted with removable, nonlethal warheads of the type used in military training

It was, as a UN report later concluded, the “largest seizure of ammunition in the history of sanctions against the Democratic People’s Republic of Korea.”

A UN investigation exposed what the Post described as a “complex arrangement” in which Egyptian businessmen ordered millions of dollars worth of North Korean ammunition for the country’s military, while also taking pains to keep the matter concealed.

A private company involved in the shipment was shut down and its license was revoked.

The incident prompted another in a series of intense US complaints over Egyptian efforts to obtain banned military hardware from Pyongyang, the report said. This incident and others have led the Trump administration to freeze or delay nearly $300 million in military aid to Egypt over the summer.

In response to the Post’s report, Egypt stated that it “will continue to abide by all Security Council resolutions and will always be in conformity with these resolutions as they restrain military purchases from North Korea,” and that it has destroyed the illicit shipment.

US officials say that Egypt was forced to destroy the shipment after it was exposed, but had no initial intention of doing so.

“The vessel’s automatic identification system was off for the majority of the voyage,” to avoid detection, the UN report said, “except in busy sea lanes where such behavior could be noticed and assessed as a safety threat.”

North Korea’s Global Weapons Trade

North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile development and nuclear programs, and the UN Security Council (UNSC) has toughened the measures in response to five nuclear weapons tests and four long-range missile launches conducted by Pyongyang.

North Korea has been under UN sanctions since 2006 over its ballistic missile development and nuclear programs, and the UNSC has toughened the measures in response to five nuclear weapons tests and four long-range missile launches conducted by Pyongyang.

Iran, Burma, Cuba, Syria, Eritrea, Uganda, Congo, and at least two terrorist groups are also believed to been North Korean weapons clients, the report said.

In August, Reuters reported that North Korean chemical weapons en route to Syria were twice intercepted in the past six months, according to a confidential United Nations report on North Korea’s sanctions violations.

By: World Israel News Staff