An attempt to smuggle 18 tons of special "metallurgical coke" coal into Gaza was foiled on Sunday at the Nitzana border crossing, which leads to the Sinai from where the coal was to be smuggled into Gaza.
The smuggled coal, which was seized thanks to the joint activities of the Tax Authority and General Security Service, is used as fuel in firing furnaces to forge metals.
Information from security sources indicates the coal was meant to help Gazan terrorist organizations cast metals so as to create and design weapons to be used against Israel.
Due to the threat, customs inspectors at the Nitzana border crossing decided to seize the goods after consulting with Israel Security Agency (ISA).
"This seizure is one success of many in the meaningful and joint effort...to locate smuggling into the Gaza Strip through the border crossing, with a goal of uprooting this phenomenon completely and ensuring the security of the state of Israel," stated the Tax Authority.
The fear of Gaza building domestic weapons comes at a time when Hamas is advancing the development of home-made rockets, conducting numerous missile tests by firing projectiles into the Mediterranean Sea and researching new rocket technology.
Given the Israeli and Egyptian efforts to limit the ability of Gaza terrorist groups to re-arm with foreign weapons, Hamas and others have increasingly focused their attentions on domestic production, although their local work has been dependent on the influx of materials used to produce weapons.
That need has led to a push in smuggling; smuggling attempts were foiled earlier this month, blocking materials such as advanced electronics equipment and communications technology.
And just a month earlier, a high profile smuggling ring was exposed, as three Israeli businessmen - including a resident of the Gaza Belt region that was hard hit by Hamas rockets last summer - were revealed to be behind a network funneling materials and advanced electronics to Gazan terrorists.
Israel is itself shipping in large quantities of cement, and recently lifted a longstanding ban on the import of dual use Portland cement, even as the IDF admits that Hamas is once again building terror attack tunnels into Israel using the materials.