Kerem Shalom Crossing.
(photo credit: REUTERS)
There was a dramatic increase in the last year in the number of foiled attempts to smuggle material that could be transformed into weapons or used by terrorists into Gaza through Israel.
Border smuggle foiled
The Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said on Sunday that it foiled 1,226 smuggling attempts in 2016 through the Kerem Shalom crossing, an increase of 165% from last year.
It released a short video showing the material it confiscated, including drones and knives with blades that are 20 cm. long.
The longer list of confiscated items included security cameras, disassembled vans, communication equipment, military clothing and tarps, scuba diving gear, digging equipment, aluminum siding and steel poles.
The rise in the number of smuggling attempts was due to the increase by 13% in 2016 in the amount of commercial goods that can enter Gaza through the Kerem Shalom crossing, the main commercial artery into the Strip.
The Shin Bet, COGAT and the Crossing Authority also conducted dozens of investigations that harmed the smugglers’ infrastructure.
Crossing Authority head Brig.-Gen. (res.) Kamil Abu Rukun said COGAT’s war against the smugglers delayed attempts by terrorists to strengthen their organizations in Gaza.
Its efforts were also helped by new monitoring technology that “increases our ability to struggle against the smugglers on a daily basis,” Rukun said.