The Israeli Navy arrested off the coast of Gaza last month a Hamas-affiliated smuggler who is accused of bringing weapons and illegal building materials into the Strip, the Shin Bet revealed Monday.
Salim Jamal Hassan Naman, a resident of the al-Shati refugee camp, admitted to interrogators that he’d been involved in a naval smuggling operation for some time and had helped bring in weaponry and “materials used in the production of rockets, like fiberglass resin,” the security service said.
The Shin Bet accused Hamas of “taking advantage” of a recent change in policy concerning the blockade on the coastal Strip.
In April, the Defense Ministry extended the permitted distance from the coast for Gazan boats to nine nautical miles, up from the previous six miles.
Naman, 39, was picked up by IDF sailors in April after his boat “deviated from the approved sailing area,” the Shin Bet wrote in a statement.
After his arrest, Naman was handed over to the Shin Bet for further questioning, where he provided his interrogators with information regarding Hamas’s smuggling operations and attack strategies.
Though Naman was most closely affiliated with the Hamas terror organization, he told investigators the smuggling ring brought weapons to a variety of terror groups in the beleaguered Gaza Strip, the Shin Bet said.
He also gave additional information on the terror group’s methods of using dedicated smugglers as well as Gaza fishermen to bring contraband to and from Egypt.
Naman also gave his interrogators information regarding Hamas’s operational plans to use Gazan fishermen as a “camouflage” for their military actions, the Shin Bet said.
“The information revealed in this interrogation, along with the interrogations of the other Hamas terror operatives who have been arrested recently, reveal another aspect of the numerous efforts made by Hamas in order to prepare itself for advancing its violent terrorist actions,” the Shin Bet said.
“This time, it’s through taking advantage of the relief provided by Israel for the population of Gazan fisherman,” it said.