Four tons of a chemical used to manufacture long-range rockets were stopped from being smuggled into Gaza, Israeli security announced Tuesday.
Security forces seized the ammonium chloride before Passover at the Nitzana border crossing between Israel and Egypt. The crossing is also used to facilitate the shipment of goods into Gaza.
The Shin Bet, Israel’s internal security service, said they believe that the smuggler is a Gaza-based Hamas supporter who used his importing license to bring the material in for use in Hamas’ weapons facilities.
The four tons of ammonium chloride, which is usually used in fertilizers but can also be used to make explosives, had the potential to be employed in the production of hundreds of rockets. The chemicals were hidden within a 40-ton shipment of salt. Security forces had been on high alert because of unusually high levels of salt imports recently, the Israel Tax Authority said in a statement.
“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,” they added.
The agency noted that “dozens of attempts to smuggle items and materials that are prohibited from importation into the Gaza Strip—such as sulfuric acid, diving suits, rocket propulsion fuel components, polyurethane, sulfur, fiberglass rolls and specially coarse coal for use in iron smelters and metalwork—and which are suspected of being for use by local terrorist organizations” have been stopped by the Israeli government.
At the same time, Israel allowed more than 10,000 truckloads of goods to be delivered to Gaza in the month of March, according to the NGO Gisha.
[Photo: Shin Bet]