In recent months, naval smuggling routes have become more attractive to Gazans seeking to bring arms and goods into the Strip, a senior Israel Navy source told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.

“This poses a threat. There have been a number of smuggling attempts in recent months that we have thwarted. We are monitoring the area day and night; thwarting smuggling is one of our central missions. We will not allow Hamas to build up its [military] force via sea smuggling,” the source stated.

The rise in attempts to smuggle weapons and contraband into Gaza involves Palestinian vessels – often of similar size and motors – that head out to the Mediterranean Sea, sail to the Egyptian coastline, load cargo, and seek to return to Gaza. The route has been used for years, but the scope of such attempted runs is growing. […]