The Israel Police, the IDF Military Police and the Shin Bet (Israel’s Security Agency) has uncovered a network of arms dealers that included contact between Bedouins serving in the IDF, Israeli civilians from the Bedouin community and residents of the Palestinian Authority (PA).
An investigation carried out in Israel’s southern district found that IDF soldiers were trading with civilians in ammunition and gun parts that were being transferred to the Palestinian Authority.
In December, the police thwarted the smuggling of thousands of bullets into the PA when a vehicle breached the Meitar checkpoint just north of Beer Sheva and was stopped by police.
The covert investigation revealed a connection between this incident and the arms dealers’ network.
A joint operation by Israel’s combined security services subsequently led to the arrest of 21 soldiers and civilians. The investigation revealed the soldiers stole a large amount of ammunition from the army, as well as standard military gun parts which they replaced with counterfeit parts, taking advantage of their access to military-issued weapons and their profession as drivers to transfer the weapons.
With the completion of the investigation this past Sunday, the Southern District Attorney’s Office filed an indictment against the civilian suspects.
Indictments were filed Monday against the suspected soldiers in the Southern District Military Court.
Israeli police stated that “complex and sophisticated investigative actions led to the deciphering of the case.”
“The Israeli police and the IDF will continue to work to uncover weapons offenses and work tirelessly to eradicate these phenomena,” the police added.
Hana Levi Julian contributed to this report.