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Israel foils plot to smuggle IDF uniforms into Gaza Strip

Israel's defense authorities in charge of regulating goods entering Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing prevented the smuggling of IDF uniforms into Gaza Strip the week of March 12, 2018
Israel Defense Ministry Spokesperson
2017 saw dozens of smuggling attempts foiled by Kerem Shalom Crossing Authority employees

Israel's defense authorities in charge of regulating goods entering Gaza at the Kerem Shalom crossing successfully foiled this week two potential terrorist plots, one involving the smuggling of Israel Defense Forces (IDF) uniforms, and the other the transport of mercury, which could be used for terrorist purposes.

Security inspectors searched a truck after the driver raised suspicions, discovering a variety of IDF apparel, which were confiscated for further investigation.

The authorities also seized this week a quantity of mercury found among medical equipment on consignment due to reach the Gaza Strip, but which was not coordinated with security officials.

“Mercury is a dual-use material that could be used for terrorist activity; the mercury was confiscated and delivered for further investigation by the security forces,” a government press office statement relayed.

Israel Defense Ministry Spokesperson

Last month the authorities successfully thwarted an attempt to smuggle crates containing material that could be used to make explosives, using a new lab set up in previous months to help identify potentially dangerous contents.

2017 saw dozens of smuggling attempts foiled by Kerem Shalom Crossing Authority employees, managed by Israel Airports Authority.

At the same time, the Gaza Strip has been teetering on the verge of a humanitarian crisis, and last month Israel presented an international committee coordinating Palestinian development aid with a $1 billion list of major infrastructure projects to address the concerns, including the expansion of the Erez border crossing -- currently only a pedestrian crossing -- to facilitate the transfer of commercial goods in and out of Gaza.

On Tuesday, Trump’s administration held a “brainstorming session” at the White House with representatives from a number of countries and international organizations to help alleviate the potential crisis in the Strip, following Trump's decision in 2018 to drastically cut funding to the UN agency for Palestinian refugees.

"Solving the situation in Gaza is vital for humanitarian reasons. Important for the security of Egypt and Israel and is a necessary step toward reaching a comprehensive peace agreement between Israelis and Palestinians, including Palestinians in both Gaza and the West Bank,” Jason Greenblatt, Trump's special envoy for Israeli-Palestinian peace negotiations, said in a statement.

The transport of goods into Gaza is regulated by the Defense Ministry Crossings Authority security inspectors at Kerem Shalom crossing, in coordination with the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) -- the defense ministry unit which coordinates with the international community on all civilian, humanitarian, and infrastructure matters relating to the West Bank and Gaza Strip.

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