A Palestinian truck bound for Gaza was intercepted in an attempt to smuggle hundreds of gallons of the banned substance TDI, used for making rocket fuel, the Defense Ministry disclosed on Monday.
The truck, which was stopped at the Tarqumia Crossing, registered as carrying a delivery of “soybean oil.” However, the vehicle aroused the suspicion of Defense Ministry inspectors, and chemical tests on the oil containers revealed that they held the dual-use material TDI, which is on a list of goods prohibited from entering the Gaza Strip.
TDI is banned because it has been used by Hamas and Islamic Jihad in the manufacture of rocket fuel.
The shipment would have been sufficient for the production of a “large quantity” of rocket fuel for various projectiles, according to the Ministry.
Since the beginning of the year, a combination of the Shin Bet, COGAT, Israeli Police, the Crossings Authority and the Ministry of Defense have thwarted more than 500 attempts to smuggle illicit goods from Israel into the Gaza Strip. Since 2014, over 280 trucks have been confiscated as a result of illegal activity.
In a separate item, a senior Palestinian official told The Associated Press that the Palestinian Authority has reached an agreement with Egypt to reopen the Gaza Strip’s main border crossing, bypassing the territory’s Hamas rulers.
Azzam al-Ahmad, an aide to PA President Mahmoud Abbas, said Monday the deal was recently reached in Cairo. He said it aims to open the Rafah crossing “to the maximum possible” to allow the movement of students, laborers, medical patients and even commercial goods.
It could mark a setback for Hamas, which is giving the plan a cool reception, raising questions about its viability.