Israel seizes wet suits believed to be heading to Hamas
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Israel seizes wet suits believed to be heading to Hamas

Scuba gear thought planned for sea-borne attack hidden in shipment of sporting goods sent by Palestinian Authority to Gaza Strip

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Israeli border agents confiscated a shipment of wet suits they suspected of being en route to Hamas in the Gaza Strip to be used for a seaborne attack on Israel, the Defense Ministry said Monday.

Bearing uncanny resemblance to an incident last year, the wet suits were hidden in a shipment of sportswear coming in to the coastal enclave from the Palestinian Authority through the Kerem Shalom Crossing, the ministry said.

“The shipment was seized and an investigation has been opened to locate those involved,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement.

Wet suits require a special permit to be imported into the Gaza Strip, lest they wind up in the hands of Hamas’s naval commando unit.

One of the wesuits hidden in a shipment of sporting goods to the Gaza Strip, believed to be en route to Hamas, on June 20, 2016. (Defense Ministry)
One of the wet suits hidden in a shipment of sporting goods to the Gaza Strip, believed to be en route to Hamas, on June 20, 2016. (Defense Ministry)

During the 2014 Gaza war, a team of five Hamas frogmen entered Israel from the shore and approached a nearby Jewish community before they were spotted and taken out by an attack helicopter.

Last month, Israeli authorities foiled an attempt to smuggle metal pipes and motors into the Gaza Strip, which could have been used for building rockets and tunnels, the Defense Ministry said at the time.

In that case as well, the illicit materials were “camouflaged,” stuck in alongside “textiles and jewelry.”

This practice of hiding illegal goods among approved products has become the go-to method for smugglers. Earlier this year, electrodes were discovered hidden in butter from a Ramallah factory.

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