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Trove of gadgets seized at Gaza border

Small drones, divers’ watches and satellite communications equipment among items in ‘unusual’ discovery

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Once of more than a dozen small UAVs discovered by border officials was they were being smuggled into the Gaza Strip, July 13, 2016. (Defense Ministry)
Once of more than a dozen small UAVs discovered by border officials was they were being smuggled into the Gaza Strip, July 13, 2016. (Defense Ministry)

The Defense Ministry said Wednesday that border officials had seized a dizzying collection of electronic and surveillance equipment as it was being smuggled into the Gaza Strip.

Among the items found were 14 small unmanned aerial vehicles and components, security cameras, satellite communications equipment, surveillance cameras, packages of motion sensors binoculars, laser pointers for weapons, communications equipment and electronic boards, tasers, weapons components, diving watches equipped with flashlights, flippers, miniature cameras, GoPro cameras, DVR cameras, and other banned electronic components.

“The discovery was unusual, even to those familiar with the most creative smuggling attempts and methodologies,” the ministry said of the find which was made at the Erez border crossing.

The materials were confiscated and an investigation was opened to identify those behind the smuggling attempt.

Electronics equipment intercepted as it was being smuggled into the Gaza Strip, July 13, 2016. (Ministry of Defense)
Electronics equipment intercepted as it was being smuggled into the Gaza Strip, July 13, 2016. (Defense Ministry)

The ministry did not specify how the equipment was found or what method was used to try to smuggle it into Gaza, but noted the discovery indicates “the heavy pressure being put on smugglers and terrorist operatives by the Shin Bet [general security service], COGAT, Tax Authority, Israeli Police and the Ministry of Defense Crossings Authority.”

Israel maintains tight control on supplies to Gaza of any electronics and other equipment which could be used for terrorist activities.

In May authorities foiled an attempt to smuggle metal pipes and motors into the Gaza Strip, which could have been used for building rockets and tunnels.

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