Israel seizes contraband online deliveries en route to Gaza, fearing terror use
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Israel seizes contraband online deliveries en route to Gaza, fearing terror use

Combat knives, drones, diving gear and other dual-use items that were ordered from sites such as Amazon, Ali Express are confiscated at border crossing

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

Contraband purchased over the internet that was seized by Israel as it was en route to the Gaza Strip through the Erez Crossing on November 27, 2019. (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories)
Contraband purchased over the internet that was seized by Israel as it was en route to the Gaza Strip through the Erez Crossing on November 27, 2019. (Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories)

Israel on Wednesday confiscated hundreds of packages en route to the Gaza Strip that it said contained contraband material, like knives, drones and diving equipment, which had been ordered from Amazon and other online stores.

According to the Defense Ministry, these products were “likely to serve terror purposes.”

These items fall under Israel’s “dual-use” category — so-named as they can be used for both military and civilian purposes.

They were found during a search of mail that was being transported to the Gaza Strip from Israel through the Erez Crossing, according to the ministry’s Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT).

The head of the Coordination and Liaison Administration for Gaza accused terror groups in the Palestinian enclave of trying to take advantage of the mail system to arm themselves.

“Once again Gaza Strip terror organizations are trying to exploit the civilian policy spearheaded by the State of Israel and use mail transfer for terror purposes. These attempts, which we review with the utmost severity, are thwarted time and again by the Gaza CLA officers and soldiers,” Col. Iyad Sarhan said in a statement.

The ministry said the packages contained weapons accessories, knives, cameras, drones, spare parts, air bag systems, communications equipment, electronic components, satellite communications equipment, binoculars, diving equipment and other contraband.

According to COGAT, the products were ordered from the Amazon and AliExpress online retail giants.

Israel has maintained a blockade of the Gaza Strip since the Hamas terror group took over the territory in 2007, and says it is necessary to prevent arms from entering Gaza that could be used in attacks against it. Egypt has kept its border with the Strip shut as well. Israel regularly allows screened goods to enter Gaza through its border crossings.

Hamas, which seized control of Gaza in 2007 from the Fatah faction of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, openly seeks to destroy Israel.

Terror groups in the Strip routinely try to import dual-use products through the postal service.

In July, the Defense Ministry said it had seized 1,600 such items in the previous 12 months.

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