Customs personnel at the Port of Ashdod discovered the largest consignment ever found of military equipment destined for the Gaza Strip, the Israel Tax Authority announced on Monday. The shipment included thousands of items of military clothing, including boots, coats and combat vests, all in camouflage colors.
The Gazan importer of the consignment, which originated in China, was due to receive it via the Kerem Shalom border crossing.
All items were confiscated and handed over to the security establishment.
“Ashdod Port customs inspectors are doing their utmost to thwart the efforts of Hamas and other Gaza-based terrorist organizations to arm and equip themselves. To this end, thousands of items for military use were seized in the past year,” the agency said in a statement.
Israeli authorities intercept illicit goods heading to Hamas at crossings from Israel into the Strip on a regular basis. Last January, the Office of the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) said it had foiled 1,226 smuggling attempts in 2016 through the Kerem Shalom crossing, an increase of 165% from the previous year.
In October 2017, authorities foiled two separate attempts to smuggle thousands of military-grade gloves and boots labeled as slippers that were destined for Hamas’s military wing in Gaza. The items were discovered after authorities at the Kerem Shalom crossing stopped an Israeli truck carrying a large shipment of clothing products and another that was carrying a large shipment of “slippers” after the vehicles aroused suspicion.
Other products discovered in packages seized by Israeli authorities have included computer motherboards, electronic circuits, inverters, an optical cable-cutter, an optical magnification device, a miniature electric drill, high-performance headlamps, voltage stabilizers, power supplies and optical connectors.
Products that are viewed by the defense establishment as dual-use and can be used for military and civilian purposes require a special permit.