Attempt to smuggle rocket-manufacturing material into Gaza thwarted

Marcy Oster

JERUSALEM (JTA) — A shipment of 40 tons of salt set to cross into Gaza was discovered to contain four tons of ammonium chloride, used to produce long-range rockets, hidden inside.

The shipment was inspected at the Nitzana Crossing, which is used to transfer good among Egypt, Israel and the Palestinian Authority, a week before the Passover holiday, a statement issued Tuesday by the Israel Tax Authority said.

The sacks of ammonium chloride were discovered hidden within the salt, the authority said. The inspection was undertaken in cooperation with the Shin Bet security service.

Four tons of ammonium chloride could have enabled the manufacture of hundreds of long-range rockets.

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Ammonium chloride is defined as a dual-use substance and its passage into the Gaza Strip requires a permit since it can be used in the production of long-range rockets.

The importer of the salt shipment is a resident of Gaza with ties to the military wing of Hamas, according to the authority.

“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 said in its statement. “The security establishment and the Israel Tax Authority customs view the incident with utmost gravity. It is their intention to continue to locate and thwart attempts to smuggle in dual-use materials and deal with those involved to the fullest extent of the law.”

The authority said that it has in cooperation with the Shin Bet foiled “dozens” of attempts to smuggle dual-use and prohibited materials into Gaza which could be used by local terror organizations, including sulfuric acid, diving suits, rocket propulsion fuel components, polyurethane, sulfur, fiberglass rolls and very coarse coal for use in iron smelters and metalwork.

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