IDF says navy thwarted weapons smuggling attempt to Hamas commandos from Sinai
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IDF says navy thwarted weapons smuggling attempt to Hamas commandos from Sinai

Soldiers intercepted boat, arrested 2 on board who were moving arms to terror group’s naval operatives in Gaza Strip some 3 months ago, military reports

Israel some three months ago thwarted an attempt to smuggle weapons from Sinai into the Gaza Strip via the sea, the military announced Tuesday.

The army said the navy, aided by the Shin Bet security agency, stopped weapons intended for Hamas as they were being ferried in on a boat.

It did not provide a date for the operation or details on what weaponry was caught.

The military said navy soldiers intercepted the boat and arrested two operatives on board. During their questioning they said the weapons were intended for Hamas naval commandos.

An IDF missile ship (photo credit: Abir Sultan/Flash90)
An Israeli navy missile ship (photo credit: Abir Sultan/Flash90)

Hamas naval commandos came to prominence during 2014’s war with the terror group, when members of the force swam ashore outside Kibbutz Zikim on Israel’s southern coast.

The frogmen brought with them automatic weapons, fragmentation grenades and explosives, the latter of which they used against an Israeli tank, unsuccessfully. IDF surveillance crews noticed their movements and some 40 minutes after they came in from the surf, the Hamas operatives were killed in a combined attack from the sea, ground and air.

Israel has since built a 200-meter-long sea barrier, alongside various technological means, to prevent future attacks.

Israel has stopped multiple attempts to smuggle military gear and weapons into the Strip, both through the sea and through shipments entering the Palestinian territory.

Israel has maintained a naval blockade of the Hamas-ruled coastal strip since the terror group violently took over the territory from the Palestinian Authority in 2007. Israel says the measure is necessary to prevent Hamas from acquiring weapons from overseas. Humanitarian aid is transferred to the Palestinian enclaves through Israeli land crossings.

As part of the blockade, fishing boats and other seagoing vessels are limited to traveling close to the coast.

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