Israel: Hamas tried to smuggle army boots to Gaza in shipment of emoji slippers
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Israel: Hamas tried to smuggle army boots to Gaza in shipment of emoji slippers

Defense Ministry's Crossing Authority finds military footwear camouflaged as emoji-covered slippers, says they were en route to terror group

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Defense Ministry Crossing Authority agents on Sunday uncovered a shipment of military-style boots bound for the Gaza Strip that had been hidden inside colorful, cartoon-adorned slippers.

The ministry said in a statement that the army boots were believed to be bound for the Hamas terrorist group, which has controlled the Gaza Strip for over a decade.

Thousands of olive green, black and camouflage army boots, made by the specialty Magnum Boots and Apparel company, were sewn inside bedroom slippers decorated with various “emojis,” simple cartoons that are often used in social media and smartphone messages.

They were discovered while the shipment was being inspected at the Kerem Shalom crossing into the southern Gaza Strip.

Military boots that were hidden inside slippers, which Israel believes the Hamas terrorist group was trying to smuggle into the Gaza Strip for its military wing through the Kerem Shalom Crossing on October 8, 2017. (Screen capture: Defense Ministry)

“The smugglers invested effort and thought in the attempt to outwit the crossing check, when they tried to sew slippers over the boots. I’m proud of the security checkers, who operated exactly as is expected of them, beginning with identifying the truck as suspect and ending with checking the shipment and uncovering the smuggling attempt,” said Ami Shaked, the head of the Kerem Shalom Crossing Authority.

The Defense Ministry said it believed the boots were going to be used by Hamas’s military wing.

Col. Fares Attila, the head of the ministry’s Coordination and Liaison Department, which oversees movement to and from the Gaza Strip, decried the smuggling attempt as an attempt by “the Hamas terrorist group to take advantage of the Israeli policies toward the residents of the Strip.

“We will continue to stand guard in order to ensure that shipments reach their destination and aren’t diverted for terror purposes,” he said

The truck that was transporting the shipment and all the rest of its goods was impounded by Israel for further investigation by the joint task force responsible for combating attempts to smuggle goods into the Gaza Strip.

The taskforce is made up of representatives from the Defense Ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT), Shin Bet security service, Israel Police, the Tax Authority and the Crossing Authority.

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