Two Israeli Bedouin were arrested by the Israeli Security Agency (Shin Bet) in connection with the theft of tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition from a military base, the Shin Bet announced Wednesday.
The suspects are accused of stealing about 26,000 rounds of ammunition on Tuesday from the Tze’elim army training base in the Negev.
An immediate joint investigation was launched by the Shin Bet, IDF and Israel Police.
The Shin Bet added that it had recovered all the stolen 5.6 mm rifle bullets.
A military source told the Hebrew-language Walla! News outlet the thieves were likely connected to a gang of arms traffickers who routinely monitor IDF bases for opportunities to steal weapons and ammunition.
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“The IDF has become a permanent theft center for them,” the source said. “The bullets get sold throughout the country and some wind up in [Judea and Samaria].”
This is not the first time – or the second — that ammunition has been stolen from an IDF base.
More than 70,000 rifle bullets and 70 grenades were stolen in November 2022 from a military base in Golan Heights.
One month earlier, thieves stole 30,000 bullets from warehouses in the Sde Teiman military base in southern Israel.
The military has invested significant sums in installing new security measures around its facilities to prevent such incidents, but has yet to succeed in plugging the holes.