Israeli authorities thwarted Hamas naval smuggling efforts to Gaza
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Israel said on Wednesday it had thwarted a smuggling attempt of weapons into the Hamas-run Gaza Strip via the northern coast of Egypt’s Sinai desert.
The incident took place a few weeks ago but was cleared for publication only on Wednesday.
The Navy seized the suspected vessel after a pursuit in the open sea following information collected by the military intelligence, an army spokesperson said in a statement, adding that two men abroad the vessel were arrested.
The suspects were taken for questioning by Israel’s security service (Shin Bet).
The investigation indicates that the seized weapons found on the vessel were intended to be used by the naval commando of Hamas, an Islamist Palestinian movement that runs Gaza, according to the army.
Amir Gutman, commanding officer of the Southern Naval Operations, said in video footage released by the army that one of the suspects is Mahmoud Bakir, “a senior smuggler” who works with various militant groups in Gaza. “His apprehension constitutes a significant operational achievement,” Gutman said.
According to the army, the operation is part of a series of thwarting activities to “prevent armament plans of Hamas in Gaza” and “degrade their force generation capabilities.”
Gaza, a coastal Palestinian enclave, has been under an Israeli blockade since 2007.
Source: Xinhua Net