Customs, Shin Bet intercept sulfuric acid shipment to Gaza

Raw material could have been used to make 3 tons of TNT, authorities say.

September 24, 2015 20:24
1 minute read.
Intercepted shipment of sulfuric acid

Intercepted shipment of sulfuric acid. (photo credit: CUSTOMS AUTHORITY)

The Tax Authority’s Customs Office and the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) intercepted a shipment of 15 tons of sulfuric acid en route to Gaza, authorities announced on Thursday.

The find was made at the Nitzana Border Crossing terminal. The acid can be used as a raw material for making explosives, and Israel has banned its importation into the Gaza Strip.

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The shipment’s notice claimed it contained 30 tons of paint thinner, but inspectors found the dangerous chemical, “bubbling and with a strong smell,” the Customs Office said.

A Shin Bet examination found that the acid was 90 percent concentrate, of the kind that can be used to create TNT.

“Three tons of TNT explosives could have been made out of this material,” the Customs Office said.

“We suspect that the sulfuric acid was disguised as paint thinner so that it could enter the Strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing, in the framework of reconstruction work in Gaza,” the office said.

“All of those involved [in the shipment] will be the subject of legal proceedings,” it said.

Since the start of the year, joint Shin Bet – Customs Office efforts have led to the interception of dozens of attempts to smuggle banned goods and materials into Gaza, which were meant to enable terrorist organizations to build up their offensive capabilities.

Past finds included diving suits, rocket- building material, sulfur rods, fiberglass rolls (which can be used to build weapons) and a special type of coal that is used as fuel for steel furnaces to process metals.

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