Mohammed Tantawi, the head of Egypt's ruling generals, was an obstacle to Israeli efforts to stop arms smuggling within the Gaza strip, according to Israeli security forces. The assessment was privately delivered to US diplomats, alongside praise for former intelligence chief Omar Suleiman's efforts to stop weapons trafficking, according to the WikiLeaks embassy cables.
The revelations come in a tranche of the most militarily sensitive cables from the US embassy in Tel Aviv. They have been handed over to Israeli newspapers by WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange.
The cables show intimate co-operation between US and Israeli intelligence organisations. Israel's preoccupation with Iranian nuclear ambitions is well known and the US cables detail the battering on the subject that diplomats repeatedly receive from Tel Aviv.
On arms smuggling across the Egyptian border to Hamas, Israeli intelligence chiefs described Omar Suleiman, who was Egypt's intelligence minister, as "supportive" but said defence minister Mohammed Hussein Tantawi was "an obstacle" in a November 2009 cable.