JERUSALEM (JTA) — Three Israelis were charged with smuggling goods to Hamas in the Gaza Strip.
The men were charged on Monday in the Beersheba District Court with contacting a foreign agent, aiding a terror group in its war against Israel, facilitating the transfer of illegal goods to terror groups, money laundering and tax fraud.
Under questioning the men — two from the Tel Aviv area and one from the area in southern Israel near the border with Gaza — said they smuggled goods including concrete, pipes and electronics because they were “trying to make a living.” The goods were transported through the regular Kerem Shalom border crossing, according to the Shin Bet, by means of a front company.
The pipes reportedly were to be used for the production of missiles, and the concrete to rebuild tunnels running from Gaza to communities in southern Israel.
The suspected smuggling ring was uncovered in a joint operation involving the Shin Bet security service, Israel Police, the Tax Authority, the Israel Defense Forces and COGAT, the Coordinator of Government Activities in the Territories Unit.
A fourth man, reportedly from the Palestinian Authority, also will be charged.