Israeli authorities have seized hundreds of parcels of prohibited products bought online and destined for terror groups in the Gaza Strip, the Defense Ministry announced Tuesday.
In the past few weeks security officials identified various elements in the Gaza Strip using online shopping sites, including AliExpress, to smuggle prohibited products into Gaza under the guise of supposedly innocent packages.
Officials from the Crossing Authority of the Ministry of Defense along with representatives from the Gaza District Coordination Office (DCO) and the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) seized the products at the Erez Crossing.
According to the Defense Ministry the products seized in October included laser sights, telescopes, binoculars, laser pointers, metal detectors, radios, camouflage devices, miniature drones, cameras and night vision goggles.
Among other products discovered in the packages by Israeli authorities included computer motherboards and electronic circuits, inverters, an optical cable cutter, an optical magnification device, a mini electric drill, professional headlamps, voltage stabilizers, power supplies and optical connectors.
The products, which are viewed by the defense establishment as dual-use and can also be used for civilian purposes, were examined by COGAT officers and “it is suspected that some of the devices seized could have been used as improvised weapons,” read the Defense Ministry’s statement.
Importing dual-use goods into the Gaza Strip, such as cameras, requires a special permit.
Israeli authorities intercept illicit goods heading to Hamas on a regular basis at crossings from Israel into the Strip. Last January, the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said that it had foiled 1,226 smuggling attempts in 2016 through the Kerem Shalom crossing, an increase of 165% from the previous year.
In October, authorities foiled two separate attempts to smuggle thousands of military-grade gloves and boots labeled as slippers destined for Hamas’s military wing in Gaza. Both the gloves and the boots were discovered after authorities at the Kerem Shalom Crossing stopped an Israeli truck carrying a large shipment of clothing products and another carrying a large shipment of “slippers” after they aroused suspicion.
According to the Defense Ministry, when security officials examined the innocent looking slippers, which had emojis on them, they found professional- grade Magnum military boots in a variety of colors.