Israel Intercepts Ship Off Gaza Smuggling Weapons to Hamas

An Israeli navy vessel enters the southern port of Ashdod after intercepting the French yacht Dignite/Al Karama carrying pro-Palestinian activists in international waters as it tried to reach Gaza in defiance of Israel's naval blockade on the tiny Palestinian territory on July 19, 2011.

TEL AVIV – The Israeli Navy together with the Shin Bet security agency has foiled an attempt to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip from the Sinai Peninsula, the IDF said in a statement Wednesday.

After identifying members of the smuggling ring, the Shin Bet and military intelligence intercepted a vessel carrying the weapons.

Navy officers detained two terrorists aboard the ship. One was identified as Mahmoud Bakir, a known arms smuggler for Gaza-based terror groups.

“His arrest is a significant operational achievement,” the IDF Spokesperson’s Unit said in a statement.

Bakir was indicted in the Beersheba District Court on June 4.

According to the investigation, the weapons were bound for Hamas.

The detained terrorists revealed Hamas’ sea smuggling routes, the statement said.

“This operation joins a series of thwarting activities intended to prevent the armament plans of the Hamas terror organization in the Gaza Strip, degrade their force generation capabilities and is part of the ongoing effort to thwart terror activity of any kind against Israeli civilians,” the IDF said.

“The IDF and Shin Bet will continue operating to thwart terror activity and naval smuggling intended to strengthen terror groups in the Gaza Strip.”

A rocket was fired from the Gaza Strip into Israel on Monday, breaking a months-long lull in violence – with the exception of a single rocket fired last month. The IDF responded by targeting Hamas sites in the coastal enclave.


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