Israel intercepts 16 tons of chemicals used in rocket fuel headed to Gaza from Turkey

Authorities say July shipment of ammonium chloride was hidden in containers of plaster, discovered by customs officials at Ashdod port

Ammonium chloride, used in the construction of rocket fuel, is found in containers destined for Gaza in July 2023. (Tax and Customs Authority)
Ammonium chloride, used in the construction of rocket fuel, is found in containers destined for Gaza in July 2023. (Tax and Customs Authority)

Israel foiled an attempt to smuggle 16 tons of chemicals that could be used to manufacture rocket fuel hidden in a shipment from Turkey headed to the Gaza Strip, customs authorities announced Thursday.

Among the containers that arrived at Ashdod port in July were some containing 54 tons of plaster for construction in Gaza.

In those containers, inspectors found 16 tons of ammonium chloride, a dual-use chemical that Israel bars from Gaza due to its potential to be used to construct rockets, the Customs Directorate said.

Terror groups in the Hamas-ruled Strip have fired tens of thousands of rockets at Israel in recent years.

Earlier this month, Israel temporarily halted Gaza exports following what it said was an attempt to smuggle explosives from the coastal enclave.

The military had ordered a halt of several days to commercial deliveries from Gaza to Israel after several kilograms of “high-quality” explosive material were found hidden in a shipment of clothes.

The Defense Ministry said that according to initial assessments, the explosives were intended to be used for terror activity in the West Bank.

“The defense establishment will not allow terror elements to take advantage of the civilian and humanitarian channel in the Gaza Strip for the needs of military force buildup and acts of terror,” the ministry and the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories said then.

The Gaza Strip has been under an Israeli-led blockade since the Hamas terror group seized power from the Palestinian Authority in a bloody coup in 2007. Israel says the blockade, which is also enforced by neighboring Egypt, is needed to prevent the terror group, which openly seeks Israel’s destruction, from arming.

Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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