Sulphuric acid is a key component for explosives, and according to Israel’s Channel 2 the quantities seized were sufficient to produce three tonnes of explosives.
The suspicions of the Shin Bet and customs officials at the Nitzana border crossing with Egypt were aroused by the shipment, which was reported to be “bubbling and with a strong smell”. At least half of the shipment comprised of sulphuric acid.
The Customs Office said: “Three tons of TNT explosives could have been made out of this material … We suspect that the sulfuric acid was disguised as paint thinner so that it could enter the Strip via the Kerem Shalom crossing, in the framework of reconstruction work in Gaza”.
Authorities said that the truck carrying the shipment was then stopped at the Kerem Shalom crossing, before it could enter Gaza.
Sulphuric acid is banned from import to the Gaza Strip through Israel. It is a key component in producing explosives such as nitroglycerin and TNT.
Israel’s Defence Ministry stated in March that since the start of 2015, more than 100 attempts “to smuggle forbidden goods and substances” had been foiled by Israel. Among the goods have included rocket-building materials, sulphur rods and electronic welding devices.
IDF officials stated in July that Hamas had been making significant efforts to rearm and rebuilt terror tunnels after Operation Protective Edge last summer, where two-thirds of its rocket arsenal was destroyed.