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IDF intercepts high-tech equipment en route to Gaza

Advanced gear, allegedly destined for terror groups, includes infrared cameras and communications kits

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

A truck loaded with goods enters the Gaza Strip from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing in  the southern Gaza Strip, March 15, 2015. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
A truck loaded with goods enters the Gaza Strip from Israel through the Kerem Shalom crossing in the southern Gaza Strip, March 15, 2015. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)

Security forces on Monday busted an attempt to smuggle advanced electronics equipment, including infra-red cameras, from Israel into the Gaza Strip.

A joint operation by border authorities, the Shin Bet security agency, and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, intercepted the shipment, which was allegedly en route to terror groups in the Strip.

Among the confiscated devices were security cameras, including some with night-vision capabilities, and remote controls for the cameras, as well as radio equipment. The contraband was discovered in an Israeli truck as it entered the Kerem Shalom crossing into southern Gaza.

The Defense Ministry noted that it was the second time in a week that such a smuggling attempt had been foiled. Since the beginning of the year there have been over 100 incidents in which smugglers were intercepted as they tried to send banned equipment or materials to Gaza and its Hamas government, which is designated as terrorist by Israel and many Western countries.

Last month, security forces arrested three Israelis suspected of heading a cross-border smuggling ring that transferred thousands of tons of concrete, piping, metals and electronic equipment directly from Israel to Hamas in the Gaza Strip via Kerem Shalom.

Of the merchandise allegedly supplied by the men to Hamas, officials believe that the pipes were destined for use in the production of missiles, while the concrete could enable the group to rebuild attack tunnels into Israel that were destroyed during Israel’s war with Hamas over the summer in 2014.

Over the course of the war with Israel last summer, Hamas utilized an elaborate tunnel system underneath the Israeli border to launch raids on IDF soldiers stationed outside the Strip.

The Kerem Shalom border crossing is one of three crossings from Israel into the coastal strip, mostly facilitating the transfer of humanitarian aid and medical equipment, as well as the passage of patients from Gaza to Israeli hospitals.

Israel allows small quantities of construction materials into the Strip as part of the rebuilding effort in the wake of the war, but says that in Hamas’s hands, large amounts of concrete and piping would be diverted to military projects.

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