Smuggling cell hides cameras inside washing machines

Security forces nab smuggling ring passing dual-use equipment to Hamas' military wing.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Kerem Shalom border crossing
Kerem Shalom border crossing
Abad Rahim Hativ, Flash 90

In the framework of a combined Israel Security Agency (ISA), IDF and Israel Police operation in December 2016, a network of Arab smugglers was caught.

The smugglers engaged in smuggling dual-use equipment from Judea and Samaria to the Gaza strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing. The network is suspected to have smuggled hundreds of cameras, some of which were designated for Hamas elements in the Gaza Strip.

In December 2016, two suspected members of the network were arrested: Nofal Abu Siriya – a merchant from the Gaza Strip, and Nader Massalma – a merchant from Judea and Samaria.

During their ISA investigation, it was learned that during 2016, Nofal Abu Siriya, on various occasions, smuggled goods defined as dual-use, the transport of which to the Gaza Strip requires a special permit. The merchandise was smuggled to the Gaza Strip for Ahmed Abu Nafar and Zaher Bitar, businessmen from the Gaza Strip who deal in security cameras. The goods included hundreds of cameras, model airplanes and communications cables.

The smuggled merchandise was hidden in a consignment of various electronic goods, such as televisions, washing machines and refrigerators.

It was also learned that in November 2016, Nader Massalma had assisted Nofal Abu Siriya in smuggling hundreds of cameras inside washing machines that had been transported from Judea and Samaria to the Gaza Strip.

Several members of the network were aware that the smuggled cameras were designated – inter alia – for members of the Hamas military wing.

This is additional testimony to Gaza Strip-based merchants' abuse of the permits given them for goods designated for the civilian population in order to smuggle dual-use equipment for the benefit – inter alia – of terrorist elements in the Gaza Strip.

The smuggling method that was discovered by the security forces underscores the efforts undertaken by Hamas, via its collaborators, in order to build up its strength and cynically exploit the commercial permits given by Israel for the benefit of the civilian population in the Gaza Strip.

The security establishment views the foregoing with utmost gravity and will continue to locate and foil attempts to smuggle equipment, goods and dual-use materials to the Gaza Strip, and which are liable to assist Hamas and other terrorist organizations to build up their strength. Those involved – in Israel, Judea and Samaria, and the Gaza Strip – will be dealt with to the fullest extent of the law.

The State Attorney's Office of the Southern District filed on Monday indictments against Nofal Abu Siriya and Nader Massalma, in the Be'er Sheva Magistrates Court.

This is not the first time Israeli authorities have caught Gazan smugglers. In October, an Arab electrocuted himself in one of Hamas' smuggling tunnels, and in November, a Gazan man was indicted for selling digging tools to Hamas. As well, Joint Arab List MK Basel Ghattas smuggled cell phones to imprisoned terrorists.