Israel says it foiled Gaza smuggling ring that helped Hamas rebuild after war

Israel says it has foiled a ring that smuggled iron, electronic equipment and other prohibited materials to Hamas to rebuild its infrastructure following last year's war.

Israel's internal security agency says Hamas paid the Israeli companies at least $375,000 to store and deliver the goods, which entered through the Kerem Shalom cargo crossing and were listed as destined for straw companies.

Israel has charged nine people in the ring, among them three Israelis who own companies that sell the materials, with assisting an enemy in wartime, terror financing and fraud. The remaining accused are Palestinians from Gaza.

Israel considers Hamas a terrorist group.

The ring's operations were made public Monday.

The defendants were not identified. Zion Amir, a lawyer representing one of them, said his client denied the charges.