February 4, 2020 3:15 pm
The Israel Navy thwarted an attempt three months ago to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip from the Sinai by sea, the Israel Defense Forces announced in a statement on Tuesday.
According to the IDF, the navy, in participation with the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet), intercepted a vessel attempting to bring weapons to Hamas in Gaza. Israeli forces detained two operatives aboard the ship, who revealed that they were transporting weapons to Hamas’s naval commando unit.
“The foiling of such smuggling attempts helps prevent the continued arming of the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip, and directly damages the capabilities of the group’s naval commando unit,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement. “The navy works to monitor and stop terror activities and smuggling in early stages, to prevent the strengthening of terror groups in the Gaza Strip by sea.”
The ship is the third intercepted by the navy and Shin Bet in the past 18 months.
Hamas is alleged to have some 1,500 frogmen, and to have used its naval commando forces to attempt to infiltrate Kibbutz Zikim during “Operation Protective Edge” in 2014. The attempt failed and the attackers were neutralized by IDF forces.
Israel has blockaded the Gaza coast since Hamas overthrew the Palestinian Authority and took power there in 2007.
Fishing boats and other vessels are allowed to sail up to 10 nautical miles from the coast.