Skip to comments.Israel targeting all Hamas smuggling channels including Western-backed flotilla
Posted on 05/30/2010 1:18:13 AM PDT by ErnstStavroBlofeld
The Israel Navy has been training to block a Western-organized flotilla of ships from reaching the Gaza Strip over the next few days.Sources did not rule out the prospect that the flotilla would contain military or dual-use components sought by Hamas. Israel's military has determined that the Hamas regime has intensified weapons smuggling efforts to the Gaza Strip. Military sources said Hamas and its Palestinian allies were employing a range of routes to bring weapons, fuel and cash to the Gaza Strip. The sources said Hamas was being hampered by increasing efforts by Egypt and Israel.
"Hamas uses all means available to smuggle weaponry into Gaza," the Israeli military said.
In a May 25 statement, the military said Hamas has sought to build a huge weapons stockpile with support from Iran. The military also said Hamas was trying to smuggle material for indigenous weapons production in the Gaza Strip.
"Whether they are using smuggling tunnels or fisherman boats, Hamas is constantly trying to smuggle in missiles, launchers, guns, explosives and materials for building weapons," the military said.
The statement did not provide details of the weapons smuggling. But military sources said the intensified smuggling has allowed Hamas and its Palestinian militia allies to sustain missile and rocket fire toward Israel in 2010.
"Hamas, supported and funded by Iran, denies Israel's right to exist and continues to build up its weapons stockpiles so as to continue attacking the Israeli civilian population," the military said. "Since 2010, 140 rockets and mortars were fired at Israel from the Gaza Strip."
The sources said Israel has expanded maritime security patrols in the Mediterranean Sea along the coast of the Gaza Strip. They said suspected smuggling vessels have been approaching the Gaza Strip from the west on a nearly daily basis.
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