Palestinian terrorists train with a rocket in Gaza. (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90) (Abed Rahim Khatib/Flash90)
Hamas rocket Gaza
Smuggled materials

The salt sacks used to conceal the smuggled chemicals. (Shin Bet)

Customs investigators at the Nitzana crossing into the Gaza Strip, working together with the Shin Bet, prevented an attempt to smuggle four tons of ammonium chloride, hidden among 40 tons of salt, into Gaza just before the Passover holiday.

Israeli authorities were successful in foiling an attempt to smuggle chemicals into the Gaza Strip which would have been used to produce hundreds of long range rockets, the Shin Bet (Israel’s security Agency) announced Monday.

Customs investigators at the Nitzana crossing into the Gaza Strip, working together with the Shin Bet, prevented an attempt to smuggle four tons of ammonium chloride into Gaza just before the Passover holiday.

The chemical was hidden among 40 tons of salt.

Ammonium chloride is classified as a dual-use material, and requires a special license, as it can be used by Hamas and other Palestinian terror organizations to build rockets, which are then indiscriminately fired at Israeli civilians.

The Shin Bet has recently become wary of such smuggling attempts after irregular amounts of salt were ordered for the Gaza Strip, and it suspected this was a cover for the smuggling of rocket-producing chemicals.

The Shin Bet believes that the importer, a resident of Gaza with connections to Hamas, intended to turn the material over to Hamas.

“This incident illustrates the terror organizations’ actions to smuggle dual-use materials for their [military] intensification, while concealing the materials as intended for the civilian population and for rehabilitation projects,” a statement said.

“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,” it said in a statement.

Israel’s combined security agencies have been successful in thwarting more than 500 attempts to smuggle illicit materials from Israel into the Gaza Strip since the beginning of 2015. Over 280 trucks have been confiscated as a result of illegal activity over the course of 2014.

In many of the incidents, the smuggled materials are meant for Hamas’ rocket production program or its military build-up.

In February, Israeli authorities thwarted an attempt to smuggle several drones into Gaza, which are suspected to have been intended for Hamas’ use.

In December, Israel prevented the smuggling of armored plates into the Gaza Strip, apparently to be used by Hamas’ armed forces.

In November, Israeli security forces intercepted a Palestinian truck carrying hundreds of liters of banned chemical substance that can be used for rocket production, en route from Hebron to Gaza.

In April, Israel caught 18 tons of special “metallurgical coke” coal which is used as fuel in firing furnaces to forge metals, en route to Gaza.

Since Israel decimated Hamas’ terror infrastructure during Operation Protective Edge, Hamas has been working relentlessly to rehabilitate its networks and replenish its weapons stockpiles.

By: Max Gelber, United with Israel

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