Israel thwarts attempted smuggling of 10 reconnaissance drones into Gaza Strip

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Israeli forces stationed at the Erez border crossing to the Gaza Strip foiled Wednesday an attempt to smuggle 10 reconnaissance drones into the Palestinian coastal enclave, the defence ministry said.

The devices were concealed inside a black bag kept in a minibus that was trying to pass through the crossing into Gaza, a ministry statement said.

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“The drones are suspected to have been intended for reconnaissance purposes by terrorist groups operating within the Gaza Strip,” it said.

The devices were found by security guards and a K9 unit deployed at the Erez crossing that connects the Gaza Strip with southern Israel.

“During the inspection of the vehicle, a specially trained canine detected the suspicious package and indicated its presence by sitting on it,” the ministry said, adding the incident was under further investigation.

The ministry did not offer more details or name the group to which the drones were meant to be delivered.

The Erez crossing is used by thousands of Palestinians with permits to enter Israel for work.

Gaza, densely populated with 2.3 million people, has been under Israeli blockade since 2007, a measure Israel says is necessary to contain threats from armed groups in the enclave.

The blockade came into effect when the Palestinian militant group Hamas, which has fought several wars with Israel over the years, rose to power in the enclave.

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