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IDF foils $1.2 million drug-smuggling attempt along border with Egypt

More than 200 kilograms of marijuana flowers and hashish seized, no arrests made

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Troops stand next to drugs seized during a smuggling attempt on the Egypt border, on February 5, 2022. (IDF)
Troops stand next to drugs seized during a smuggling attempt on the Egypt border, on February 5, 2022. (IDF)

Israeli troops foiled an attempt to smuggle drugs into Israel from Egypt on Friday morning, the military said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, soldiers monitoring surveillance cameras spotted the drug smuggling attempt and dispatched troops to the scene.

Suspects from the Egyptian side tossed the drugs over the fence, apparently for accomplices on the Israeli side to later pick them up.

More than 200 kilograms (440 pounds) of marijuana flowers and hashish, estimated to be worth NIS 4 million ($1.2 million), were seized, according to the IDF. No arrests were made.

“This operation is part of the ongoing effort by the IDF and security forces to thwart drug smuggling on the Egyptian border,” the military said.

On a sometimes nightly basis, Egyptian smugglers attempt to pass contraband over the border to Israelis, who collect the packages and sell the drugs in Israel — mostly marijuana from grow houses in the Sinai Peninsula, but sometimes harder drugs like heroin.

Marijuana and hashish seized during a smuggling attempt on the Egypt border, on February 5, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

On Friday, the IDF announced the removal of the deputy head of a battalion involved in a friendly fire incident along the Egyptian border last week, in which two Border Police officers were lightly wounded while thwarting a drug smuggling attempt.

An internal investigation into the January 27 incident found that the deputy commander of the Caracal Brigade erred in a number of ways, including in failing to coordinate aspects of the drug smuggling operation with the various units involved and in violating open-fire weapon regulations.

Though the IDF is tasked with preventing smuggling along the Israeli-Egyptian border, the military typically strives to avoid direct confrontation with Israeli drug smugglers, leaving that to the police.

Judah Ari Gross and Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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