Forces Bust Huge Shipment of Balloons en Route to Gazan Arsonists

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Photo by Hillel Maeir/TPS on 23 May, 2019

By Aryeh Savir/TPS • 23 May, 2019

An Israeli man was arrested earlier this month on suspicion that he attempted to smuggle hundreds of thousands of balloons to terror elements in the Gaza Strip, while using his Israeli citizenship to evade security checks.

The balloons are used by Gaza-based terrorists as a vehicle to deploy explosives in nearby Israeli communities and carry incendiary materials that set fire to fields and forests surrounding the Strip.

The Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court acceded to the request of the Ashdod Customs House and ordered the release of David Cohen, 50, under constrained conditions. Cohen, the owner of DC Logistics Ltd., is suspected of importing hundreds of thousands of balloons in the colors of the Palestinian Authority (PA) flag while using his Israeli citizenship to evade security checks.

According to the request for detention, the Intelligence Unit of the Customs House in Ashdod has accumulated intelligence information indicating that DC Logistics Ltd. imported a huge quantity of balloons and intended to transfer them immediately to Tahsin Magged Ahmed Dufash, an Arab resident of Hebron, who would then transfer them gradually to Gaza.

At the end of an operation on Sunday, boxes with Dufash’s name were located.

In strict contradiction to customs procedures, Cohen did not specify the contents in the import declaration and did not notify the customs of the final destination of the balloon shipment, in order to avoid security checks and with the aim of making a monetary profit, the arrest warrant said.

The suspect was detained for questioning, during which he linked himself to most of the offenses attributed to him, the police said.

Magistrate Avishai Cohen agreed to the request of the investigating unit and determined, among other things, a bank guarantee in the amount of NIS 20,000, a third-party guarantee and a third-party guarantee of 30,000 NIS and an order to delay departure from Israel for 180 days.

Gazan arsonists have destroyed thousands of acres of forests and agricultural fields over the past year, causing irreversible damage to nature.

The terrorists on Wednesday set fire at 11 points in areas surrounding Gaza using these arson balloons.

In response, the IDF’s Coordination of Government Activities in the Territories (COGAT) announced that it was limiting the allowed fishing zone surrounding Gaza to 10 nautical miles, just a day after it was broadened to 15 miles as a goodwill and humanitarian gesture.

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