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Shin Bet: Network That Smuggled Dual-Use Equipment Into Gaza Uncovered

1In the framework of a combined Shin Bet, IDF and Israel Police operation last month, a network of smugglers was exposed that was engaged in smuggling dual-use equipment from Yehuda and Shomron to Gaza via the Kerem Shalom crossing.

The network is suspected to have smuggled hundreds of cameras, some of which were designated for Hamas elements in Gaza. In December 2016, two suspected members of the network were arrested: Nofal Abu Siriya – a merchant from Gaza, and Nader Massalma – a merchant from Yehuda and Shomron.

During their Shin Bet investigation, it was learned that during 2016, Nofal Abu Siriya, on various occasions, smuggled goods defined as dual-use, the transport of which to Gaza requires a special permit. The merchandise was smuggled to Gaza for Ahmed Abu Nafar and Zaher Bitar, businessmen from Gaza who deal in security cameras. The goods included hundreds of cameras, model airplanes and communications cables.

The smuggled merchandise was hidden in a consignment of various electronic goods, such as televisions, washing machines and refrigerators.

It was also learned that in November 2016, Nader Massalma had assisted Nofal Abu Siriya in smuggling hundreds of cameras inside washing machines that had been transported from Yehuda and Shomron to Gaza.

It was learned that several members of the network were aware that the smuggled cameras were designated – inter alia – for members of the Hamas military wing.

The above is additional testimony to Gaza -based merchants’ abuse of the permits given them for goods designated for the civilian population in order to smuggle dual-use equipment for the benefit – inter alia – of terrorist elements in Gaza.

The smuggling method that was discovered by the security forces underscores the efforts undertaken by Hamas, via its collaborators, in order to build up its strength and cynically exploit the commercial permits given by Israel for the benefit of the civilian population in Gaza.

The security establishment views the foregoing with utmost gravity and will continue to locate and foil attempts to smuggle equipment, goods and dual-use materials to Gaza, and which are liable to assist Hamas and other terrorist organizations to build up their strength. Those involved – in Israel, Yehuda and Shomron, and Gaza – will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.

The State Attorney’s Office (Southern District) on Monday 11 Teves, filed indictments against Nofal Abu Siriya and Nader Massalma, in the Beersheva Magistrate Court.

(YWN – Israel Desk, Jerusalem)

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