• July 24, 2024

Cigarette Smuggling Impeding Gaza Aid

 Cigarette Smuggling Impeding Gaza Aid
Image: Robert

Restrictions on imports of nonessential goods into Gaza have turbocharged cigarette smuggling, reports The Wall Street Journal.

Aid trucks and storage depots have become targets for Palestinian smugglers seeking to retrieve illicit smokes stashed inside shipments by their accomplices, say U.N. and Israeli officials. Other local criminals are also attacking vehicles they suspect have cigarettes hidden somewhere on board, they say.

Cigarette prices have soared since Israel limited imports into Gaza to essential goods—which don’t include cigarettes—after Hamas’ Oct. 7 attacks. Cigarettes sell for as much as $25 apiece in isolated Gaza.

Criminal attacks on aid convoys have reportedly become so severe that over a thousand truckloads of aid have been left sitting on the Gaza side of the Kerem Shalom border crossing with Israel.

A UN official described cigarettes as “the new gold” in Gaza.