Authorities revealed Thursday that customs agents in Ashdod thwarted an attempt to smuggle 16 tons of rocket building material into Gaza in July of this year.
According to authorities, the operation took place when Ashdod Customs and the National Customs Cargo Inspection Center detained two containers weighing 54 tons that were supposed to contain plaster bags en-route from Turkey to the Gaza Strip.
During the inspection, agents became suspicious that the containers included materials other than mortar used for building.
The material was taken to a laboratory for testing, which verified suspicions that the substance in the containers was ammonium chloride weighing 16 tons, which was hidden between the plaster bags.
Ammonium chloride is used, among other things, by the terrorist organizations in Gaza for manufacturing rockets to be launched at Israel.
About a month ago, the smuggling of 10 intelligence-gathering drones from Israel to the Gaza Strip through the Erez crossing was thwarted by security officials when they seized a black bag hidden in a minibus.
In April of last year, Israeli security forces broke up a Palestinian naval smuggling network that imported components for the production of weapons for terrorist organizations in the Gaza Strip.
Operating on the accumulated intelligence, the Israeli Navy captured three smugglers during one of their attempts to import materials used for Hamas’ military buildup.
Navy sailors seized the vessel, arrested the suspects, and transferred them to the Shin Bet for interrogation.
Since Israel decimated Hamas’ terror infrastructure during Operation Protective Edge in the summer of 2014 and successive operations, the group has been working to rehabilitate its networks and replenish its weapons stockpiles.
It has developed a diverse apparatus for the smuggling of weapons and materials used for its rocket production program into Gaza, including through the mail and by sea.
Image - Atia Mohammed/Flash90