The Hamas terror organization on Friday test-fired dozens of short-range rockets in the Gaza Strip, with Israeli sources estimating that at least 30 projectiles were launched.
The rockets were aimed at areas not under Israeli control, Army Radio reported.
The tests came as part of ongoing efforts by Hamas to improve its rocket range and accuracy, two years after it last fought Israel. The Islamist terror group, which seeks to destroy Israel, has also been digging tunnels towards and under the Israeli border, in preparation for further conflict.
The Defense Ministry announced late last month that Israel foiled an attempt to smuggle metal pipes and motors into the Gaza Strip, which could have been used for building rockets and tunnels.
The Gaza-bound shipment came through Tarkumiya, a small village outside of Hebron in the West Bank. The trucks were headed to the Kerem Shalom Crossing, where they would enter the coastal enclave.
Inspectors at the Tarkumiya crossing, along with the Shin Bet security service, intercepted the packages, which were believed to have been on their way to Hamas in the Gaza Strip, the ministry said in a statement.
According to officials, the “large shipment” consisted of “hundreds of pipes with a diameter under four inches, with a special kind of screw that is used for the production of mortars and rockets.”
“The shipment has been confiscated and an investigation has been opened to locate those involved in the smuggling,” the Defense Ministry said.
Also in May, the Israel Tax Authority uncovered an attempt to sneak four tons of ammonium chloride into Gaza, concealed in table salt.
Sacks of the ammonium chloride were found buried in some 36 tons of salt. The chemical compound is used mainly in agriculture as a fertilizer, but like many nitrogen-based fertilizers, can also be turned into an explosive.
“This case underscores the activity of Gaza-based terrorist organizations in smuggling dual-use materials disguised as goods destined for the civilian population and reconstruction projects,” the Tax Authority said at the time.