Hamas said to seize military boots with tracking devices at Gaza crossing

Security source in Gaza tells Turkish news agency Israel attempted to send the boots to the Strip to spy on members of terrorist groups

Adam Rasgon is the Palestinian affairs reporter at The Times of Israel

Pictures said to show shoes with tracking devices seized by Hamas en route to the Gaza Strip on February 16, 2019 (screen capture: Twitter)
Pictures said to show shoes with tracking devices seized by Hamas en route to the Gaza Strip on February 16, 2019 (screen capture: Twitter)

Hamas-run security forces at the Kerem Shalom crossing in the Gaza Strip have seized a shipment of army boots outfitted with tracking devices, Turkey’s state-run news agency Anadolu reported on Saturday, citing a security source in the coastal enclave.

Hamas security forces were carrying out “a precise inspection of the tracking devices in order to… understand how they work,” the security source said.

Pictures and videos shared on Twitter appeared to show the military boots and the tracking devices that were planted in them.

Shipments that go into Gaza through Kerem Shalom typically pass through the Israeli part of the crossing, followed by the Palestinian Authority- and Hamas-controlled portions of it.

Hamas, an Islamist terrorist group sworn to Israel’s destruction, has controlled Gaza since ousting the Fatah-dominated PA in 2007. However, employees of the Ramallah-based PA government have continued to coordinate the entry of goods into the Strip through Kerem Shalom.

The security source accused Israel of attempting to send the boots into Gaza to “spy on members of the resistance and to follow their movements,” noting they resemble a design that terrorist groups in the coastal enclave wear.

Israeli trucks carrying diesel fuel enter Kerem Shalom cargo crossing on the Israel-Gaza border, October 11, 2018. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov)

The Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories, the branch of the Defense Ministry that oversees the entry of goods into Gaza, declined to comment.

The IDF referred questions to the Defense Ministry spokesperson, who did not respond to a request for comment.

The security source in Gaza said that the Hamas-run security forces were now also imposing “strict security measures” at Kerem Shalom including a “precise inspection” of everything that enters and exits the coastal enclave.

The source added that the measures were put into place after it was proven the Israeli army was “exploiting” the crossing to bring spying materials into Gaza.

Abu Obeida, the spokesman of the Izz ad-Din al-Qassam Brigades, Hamas’s military wing, claimed a few weeks ago in a televised statement to the press that Israel had sent equipment to Gaza through Kerem Shalom that, he said, Israeli special forces used in a raid on Khan Younis in November last year.

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