Released for publication: Just prior to Passover, Israeli customs & security officials at the Nitzana Border Crossing with Egypt seized 4 tons of ammonium chloride concealed within a shipment of salt, destined for Gaza.
By NOAM AMIR/MAARIV HASHAVUA, JPOST.COM STAFF
Security forces have foiled an attempt to smuggle into Gaza four tons of chemicals that can be used to manufacture long-rang rockets, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) announced on Tuesday morning.
Before the Passover holiday, customs and Shin Bet officials at the Nitzana Border Crossing used by Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority seized the four tons of ammonium chloride concealed within a shipment of salt.
The Shin Bet estimates that the importer of the latest smuggling attempt is a Gaza resident associated with Hamas. The importer was believed to have been urged by the terrorist group to bring the materials into the Strip for manufacturing use by Hamas.
Ammonium chloride can be used in the production of long-range rocket and the quantity of material seized had the potential to yield hundreds of such weapons, according to the Shin Bet.
According to Tuesday’s announcement, the delivery intended for Gaza was discovered about a week before Passover during inspections of goods traveling between the border crossing.
During examinations of a 40-tons shipment of salt, the Israeli officials located the illicit shipment of ammonium chloride.
Due to the dual-purpose nature of the material that can potentially be used by terrorist organizations, its transfer to the Gaza Strip requires a licenses.
Shin Bet said it has been operating as of recent on increased alert in light of large amounts of salts being transferred to Gaza as such shipments can be used as a smuggling channel.
The Shin Bet underlined that case illustrates that terrorist operatives in Gaza smuggle dual-use materials into the coastal Palestinian enclave for militant purposes under the guise of imports intended for the civilian population and construction restoration projects.