Israel halts Gaza imports over 'attempt to smuggle explosives'

Israel halts Gaza imports over 'attempt to smuggle explosives'
The Israeli military have closed the only point of entry between Israel and Gaza, claiming there was an attempt to smuggle explosives from the besieged enclave.
2 min read
05 September, 2023
The Kerem Shalom crossing is often the only entry point for humanitarian aid into Gaza [Getty]

Israel's army chief on Monday ordered the suspension of all imports from Gaza after an alleged attempt to smuggle explosives, the army and defence ministry said in a statement.

Officers from the defence ministry, which controls crossings between Israel and the Palestinian enclave, "detected several kilograms of high quality explosives, hidden within a clothing delivery carried by three trucks" at the Kerem Shalom crossing, the statement said.

Army chief of staff Herzi Halevi, with approval from Defence Minister Yoav Gallant, ordered the halting of "commercial deliveries from Gaza to Israel, allowing security adjustments to be made at the crossing".

"Deliveries will resume in accordance with subsequent situation assessments," it added.

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The statement said Israel "will not allow terror organisations to take advantage of civilian and humanitarian facilities for terror purposes".

The Gaza Strip has been under a crippling Israeli blockade which has plunged thousands of civilians into poverty since Hamas took control of the territory in 2007.

The Kerem Shalom crossing is the only point of entry for goods between the enclave and Israel, including humanitarian aid. 

Monday's development comes amid ongoing deadly Israeli attacks on Palestinian towns, cities, and refugee camps in the occupied West Bank, accompanied by an increase in illegal settlement activity. 

Violence from the Israeli-Palestinian conflict has surged and claimed the lives of at least 225 Palestinians so far this year.