Egypt returns radioactive shipment to Israel

Egypt has sent back to Israel a delivery of 32 tonnes of tiles that was emitting high levels of radiation, a security official told AFP on Monday.

Authorities seized the truckload of tiles on Friday after it crossed into the Sinai from Israel via a crossing near the Gaza Strip. They detected the radiation and called in nuclear experts to examine the vehicle.

“A body charged with nuclear security, which is part of the Egyptian Atomic Energy Authority, examined the cargo and decided to send it back to Israel immediately,” an official said.

Israeli authorities have been told why the cargo was refused and informed of the radiation levels that were discovered, the official added.

An Israeli official at the Nitzana border crossing confirmed that the consignment had been returned, although he questioned the date.

“It certainly wasn’t sent back on Friday as the crossing was closed that day,” the official said, asking not to be identified.

“But whatever the details, it’s not the first time that it’s happened. Ceramic tiles of all sorts give out low levels of radiation and the Egyptian authorities, who are very sensitive about this matter, have undertaken to check if the radiation levels exceed the required norms,” the official added.

“When this is not the case, the merchandise is returned and we carry out our own checks.”

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