Smuggled pipes intercepted at the Tarqumya Checkpoint en route to Gaza, May 26, 2016.
(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Security forces said Thursday they intercepted an attempt to smuggle a large amount of illicit material into Gaza aimed at enabling Hamas to produce mortar shells and dig tunnels.
The Defense Ministry’s Crossings Authority and Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) discovered the items at the Tarkumiya checkpoint near Hebron.
“The smuggling attempt was disguised as an innocent shipment that apparently contained textiles and jewelry, and actually contained significant means to build up Hamas’s forces,” the Defense Ministry said.
Hundreds of metal pipes with a diameter of four inches, special screw holes that are used to manufacture mortars and rockets, and dozens of electric engines used by terrorist organizations for tunnel digging, were found, the ministry said.
Authorities intercept illicit goods heading for Hamas on a regular basis.
Earlier this month, customs and Shin Bet officials said they had seized four tons of ammonium chloride concealed within a shipment of salt at the Nitzana Crossing.
In February, Crossings Authority inspectors together with the Shin Bet foiled an attempt to smuggle commercial multi-copter drones into the Strip, and in September, the Tax Authority’s Customs Office and the Shin Bet intercepted a shipment of 15 tons of sulfuric acid en route to Gaza. The acid can be used for making explosives, and Israel has banned its import into Gaza.
Also last year at Nitzana, customs officers and the Shin Bet intercepted an attempt to smuggle diving suits into the Strip.