(photo credit: DEFENSE MINISTRY)
Israeli authorities have foiled an attempt to smuggle thousands of military gloves destined for Hamas hidden in a shipment of clothing products, Israel’s Defense Ministry announced Monday.
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) discovered the gloves at the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza on Sunday.
According to the Defense Ministry, the gloves were allegedly intended for use by the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip. The truck and all of its contents was confiscated and transferred to a special joint team of COGAT, Israel’s Shin Bet security agency, Israel Police, Customs and the Ministry of Defense’s Crossing Authority, which combats smuggling.
Director of the Kerem Shalom crossing, Ami Shaked, praised the activity of the inspection team, saying that constant attempts to smuggle military equipment into the Strip are part of a “daily war” that is fought by the best people in the country and mostly hidden from the public eye.
"We will continue to fight smuggling at all times,” he said, adding that “only merchandise that has been coordinated and approved in advance and that does not assist terror elements will enter.”
According to Gaza District Coordination Office (DCO) Commander, Col. Fares Atilla, Hamas “has repeatedly tried to exploit Israel’s policy towards the civilian residents of the Gaza Strip for terror purposes. We will continue to thwart and prevent the exploitation of civilian policies for terror purposes and for the terror organization Hamas.”
Israeli authorities intercept illicit goods heading for Hamas on a regular basis at crossings from Israel into the Strip. Last January, COGAT said that it had foiled ,226 smuggling attempts in 2016 through the Kerem Shalom crossing, an increase of 165% from the previous year.
In early October, authorities foiled an attempt to smuggle thousands of military-grade shoes labeled as slippers destined for Hamas’s military wing in Gaza. The boots were discovered after authorities at the Kerem Shalom Crossing stopped an Israeli truck carrying a large shipment of “slippers” after it 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.