Cleared for publication: Seven soldiers and four civilians were arrested under suspicion of stealing artillery from a military base.
The artillery in question included hundreds of grenades and several LAW missiles, which the Israel Defense Forces used during the Lebanon war and
which were gathered and brought to warehouses when the fighting ceased.
The suspects, residents of the Galilee villages Abu Snan and Rama, would be indicted in the coming days.
The matter was exposed following an inspection of the warehouses shortly after the war ended. During the inspection it became clear that a large number of crates containing grenades and LAW anti-tank rockets had disappeared from the warehouses.
The investigation, which began as an undercover one, was given to the Central Unit of the Northern District in cooperation with the military criminal investigation division. After the investigation went overt, 250 soldiers and a large number of civilians were interrogated.
Enough evidence has been gathered in order to indict 11 suspects.
The investigation showed that soldiers serving in the area broke into the warehouses at different times, and in coordination with civilians, some of which were recently discharged from service, and some of which were family members.
“We know that some of the artillery has been sold, and some has been kept and hidden,” Northern Police Commander Menachem Haver told Ynet. The investigation recovered some of the grenades in the homes of those involved in the affair, and others in hideouts.
Police said those suspects confessed and explained their intent was criminal, for monetary gain.
In recent months, the Northern District has uncovered several wide reaching cases of arms trade. The one in question is the fourth. Dozens of guns, hundreds of grenades, and several LAW anti-tank rockets are assumed to be circulating between various criminal organizations in the North.
“This is an alarming phenomenon that should turn one a red light for security sources,” said Northern District Police Chief Major-General Dan Ronen.
“When weapons are in the open market, those who only care about money don’t choose to whom they would sell, and that’s how these weapons turn up at crime scenes and hostile terror activities,” he concluded.