Photo Credit: Ministry of Defense
Shoe boxes filled with drugs hidden inside balloons.

Israeli customs officers have foiled a plot to smuggle 20,000 illegal Captagon tablets into the Gaza Strip, the Defense Ministry announced Wednesday.

The drugs, found in 150 balloons, were seized by the Kerem Shalon Crossing officials during a routine cargo inspection of women’s shoes imported from Turkey.

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The Captagon tablets were handed over to Israeli police, and the Border Crossing Drug Unit has launched an investigation into the smuggling attempt, a statement read.

Israel intercepted 400,000 Captagon in February 2020 en route from Egypt to Gaza.

In August 2019, Israeli authorities at the Kerem Shalom Crossing seized drugs weighing some five kg. in hundreds of bags hidden in a shipment of sports shoes.

Described as “the drug of choice in war-torn Syria” by Forbes magazine, Captagon, the brand name of the drug fenethylline, is an amphetamine which numbs pain and fear and has become popular in conflict zones throughout the Middle East as it significantly ups fighters’ short-term combat capabilities.

In the past, the drug was mainly produced by Hezbollah in Lebanon.

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