Cleared for publication: Smugglers were caught trying to sneak 2-ton rolls of fiberglass into Gaza in a joint sting carried out by General Security Services (Shin Bet) personnel and Israeli customs staff at the Nitzana border crossing.
The two teams worked together to prevent the smuggling earlier this month of the fiberglass, which is a prohibited item in the enclave.
Fiberglass is used as a raw material in the construction of long-range rockets, such as those that were fired at Israel’s major cities from Gaza last summer during Operation Protective Edge.
The fiberglass cylinders were discovered in a shipment that aroused the suspicion of customs workers due to its weight: the importer’s declaration stated the shipment was supposed to contain items of clothing and textiles. However, a closer inspection revealed the presence of the fiberglass rolls as well.
Shin Bet officials said they believe the fiberglass was intended for use by Gaza terrorists since these are used as a primary raw material in the manufacture of long-range rocket batteries.
A similar attempt was stymied last week as well at the Kerem Shalom crossing into Gaza, where fiberglass stocks were also found hidden among a shipment of school supplies that were intended for import into the enclave for the upcoming school year.
Legal action will be taken against the traffickers in both cases, Shin Bet officials said. Gaza terrorists attempt every way possible to smuggle in raw materials for terrorism, the security service emphasized, even through hiding the items in humanitarian supplies.
At the beginning of the year, cooperation between the Customs Administration Tax Authority and the General Security Service (Shin Bet) was important in thwarting dozens of attempts by terrorists to smuggle prohibited goods and materials in Gaza. The items included wetsuits (for underwater use by terrorists), polyurethane – which is used as rocket propellant – sulfur bars and special coal which is used to fuel furnaces for processing iron and other metals to produce rockets and other weapons.