The Shin Bet revealed Monday afternoon that the Israeli Navy arrested a Hamas-affiliated smuggler off the coast of Gaza in April of this year. The man is accused of bringing weapons and illegal building materials into the Strip, and he admitted that Hamas is also using fishermen for this purpose.
Salim Jamal Hassan Na’aman, 39, a resident of the Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, admitted that he had been involved in a smuggling operation for some time and had helped bring in weaponry and materials used in the production of rockets, the Shin Bet said in their statement.
Salim was picked up by IDF sailors after his boat deviated from the approved sailing area, the Shin Bet said.
The Shin Bet accused Hamas of “taking advantage” of a recent change in policy concerning the blockade on the Gaza Strip; in April the Defense Ministry extended the permitted distance from the coast for Gazan fishing boats to nine nautical miles, up from six miles.
After his arrest by the Navy, Salim was handed over to the Shin Bet for further questioning, where he provided his interrogators with intelligence regarding Hamas’ smuggling operations and strategies. He also described Hamas’ methods of using smugglers as well as Gaza fishermen to bring contraband in and out of Egypt.
Salim told the investigators that the smuggling ring supplied weapons to a variety of terror groups in Gaza – not only Hamas.
The Shin Bet noted that the information revealed in this interrogation, along with the interrogations of the other recently arrested Hamas terror operatives, documents yet another aspect of the numerous efforts made by Hamas in order advance its violent terrorist agenda.
This time, ironically, it was by taking advantage of the relief provided by Israel for the Gazan fishermen.