Wednesday, May 4, 2016

Israel foils smuggling attempt into Gaza

A massive shipment of ammonium chloride used for long-range rockets has been intercepted before it reached Gaza.  Security services became suspicious after a large quantity of salt was ordered by an Gaza importer with ties to Hamas.  Four tons of the chemical were found hidden in the salt.

Customs inspectors at the Nitzana Crossing, in cooperation with the ISA, prior to the Passover holiday, foiled an attempt to smuggle four tons of ammonium chloride – hidden in a shipment of salt – into the Gaza Strip. Ammonium chloride is used in the production of long-range rockets; four tons would have enabled the manufacture of hundreds of such rockets.
Approximately one week before the holiday, a shipment – purportedly containing 40 tons of salt – destined for Gaza reached the Nitzana Crossing, which is used for the transfer of goods between Egypt and Israel and the Palestinian Authority. A comprehensive inspection by customs personnel revealed that sacks of ammonium chloride were hidden within the salt. The sacks were found to weigh four tons. Ammonium chloride is defined as a dual use substance and its passage into the Gaza Strip requires a permit since it is liable to be used by Gaza-based terrorist organizations – such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad – in the production of long-range rockets. The ISA became suspicious that, given the large quantity of salt that had been ordered for the Gaza Strip, salt shipments were being used to smuggle in chemicals for use in manufacturing facilities in the Strip, especially the manufacture of rockets.
The ISA suspects that in this smuggling attempt the importer, a resident of the Gaza Strip with ties to the Hamas military wing, sought to bring the material into the Strip for use in Hamas' production facilities. This case underscores the activity of Gaza-based terrorist organizations in smuggling dual-use materials disguised as goods destined for the civilian population and reconstruction projects.

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