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Smuggled Weapons Pouring Into Egypt from Libya

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A Libyan rebel shoots in the air at a checkpoint in the Bab El Bahrah district in Tripoli, Tuesday, Aug. 23, 2011. (AP)

CAIRO (AP) -- Egyptian security officials say thousands of weapons are being smuggled into the country across the Libyan border.

They say residents of southern Egypt, where extended families often accumulate large arsenals to protect property and settle feuds, are the main buyers.

The officials said Monday that 576 weapons including modern sniper rifles were seized by police in the last three months in the Egyptian oasis of Siwa near the Libyan border.

They said the number of weapons that reached buyers undetected is believed to be five times the number seized.

Weapons smuggling out of Libya surged after its 2011 civil war, which freed up large numbers of arms for export.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.

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