Egypt confiscates shipments of military uniforms

AP, Saturday 23 Mar 2013

Cairo airport officials confiscated 10,000 pieces of military-style clothing on Saturday as officials in the Mediterranean city of Alexandria seized 25 tons of camouflage material used for making military uniforms.

Major General Yousri Abdel-Aziz, head of security at the airport, said the large shipment of items such as shirts and pullovers lacked proper shipping permits and was essentially being smuggled out of Egypt to Libya's eastern city of Benghazi.

Airport officials said an Egyptian businessman was trying to ship the uniforms to a businessman in Libya. It was not clear what the uniforms would be used for in Libya, where the government has yet to bring militias fully under its control.

Separately, a state prosecutor in Alexandria said officials are investigating a Chinese company after two of its shipments from China were found to contain 25 tons of material in the khaki and brownish-green style worn by soldiers. The company manufactures clothing in Egypt and sells abroad.

All officials spoke anonymously because investigations are under way.

The incidents come days after a security official said the Egyptian military is investigating whether Palestinian militant group Hamas is linked to a batch of confiscated fabric that could have been used to make counterfeit uniforms. Hamas says it has no connection to the fabric.

That incident did not appear related to the confiscations in the Alexandria port or Cairo airport.

An Egyptian military spokesman warned a week ago that unnamed parties might impersonate Egyptian troops after the fabric, used for police and army uniforms, was seized near a tunnel running under the Egypt-Gaza border.

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