Israel

Israel Intercepts Materials for Building Tunnels, Rockets on Their Way to Hamas

Israeli officials intercepted a Gaza-bound shipment of metal pipes and motors that could have been used by Hamas to build rockets and tunnels, Israel’s Defense Ministry announced Thursday.

The shipment contained “hundreds of pipes with a diameter under four inches, with a special kind of screw that is used for the production of mortars and rockets,” the Defense Ministry said in a statement. Additionally, the seized electric motors “are used by terror groups for different build-up purposes, including the construction of underground networks.”

Hamas routinely attempts to smuggle materials into Gaza for military purposes under the guise of importing goods for its civilian population. Earlier this month, Israeli authorities uncovered a shipment of four tons of ammonium chloride that was concealed in over 30 tons of salt. The compound can be used both as a fertilizer and in the production of rockets. The Israel Tax Authority stated that those four tons could have resulted in the production of hundreds of long-range rockets. “This case underscores the activity of Gaza-based terrorist organizations in smuggling dual-use materials disguised as goods destined for the civilian population and reconstruction projects,” the authority concluded.

Dore Gold, director general of Israel’s Foreign Ministry, announced on Tuesday that Hamas is confiscating 95% of cement that enters Gaza. “From our own investigations we found that out of every 100 sacks of cement that come into the Gaza Strip [from Israel], only five or six are transferred to civilians,” he stated. Hamas uses the cement to build and expand its network of terror tunnels.

Over the past two months, the IDF has uncovered two Hamas terror tunnels that breached Israeli territory. Hamas used its network of tunnels during the summer 2014 war to infiltrate into Israel and has continued its efforts to rebuild and expand its infrastructure. Gen. Yossi Kuperwasser, formerly the head of the research division of Israeli military intelligence and later the director general of the Ministry of Strategic Affairs, told reporters three weeks ago that the discovery of the tunnels was a sign that Hamas was preparing for another war against Israel. He added that the tunnel digging means that “they definitely invest a lot in making the necessary preparations so that in the next round, when they decide to start it, they will be able to inflict the heaviest damage on Israel, including through those tunnels.”

Hamas reportedly spends hundreds of thousands of dollars each month and employs more than 1,000 operatives “working 24 hours a day, six days a week” building tunnels.

[Photo: משרד הביטחון / Facebook ]