One of the vans used to smuggle workers
Photo: Israel Police
Palestinian workers smuggled in decoy 'police cars'
East Jerusalem residents install police car flashers, sirens on commercial vehicles carrying illegal workers, allowed to pass through checkpoints by unsuspecting soldiers

Palestinians from east Jerusalem managed to smuggle 40 illegal workers into Israel by installing police car flashers, antennas and sirens on their commercial vehicles.


Soldiers manning IDF checkpoints on the smugglers route mistook the vans for Israeli security vehicles and allowed them to pass through.


The method was exposed early Tuesday when two vehicles carrying illegal workers were pulled over by police near a checkpoint in the northern Jordan Valley.


Van used by smugglers (Photo: Israel Police)


Using the loudspeaker, one of the van's drivers called on four Shai District police officers to move to the side of the road. The officers let the vehicles pass, but then ran a check to see who the vans belonged to.


Upon learning that one of the vehicle owners was an east Jerusalem resident and another was wanted for questioning, the officers notified the Beit She'an police station, which proceeded to dispatch officers to pull the vans over.


Twenty illegal workers were found in each vehicle.


The IDF decided to launch an internal investigation into the incident.


Beit She'an Police Chief Shimon Ben-Sabo said: "This is a severe incident. They could have smuggled terrorists into Israel in this manner. We estimate that they successfully entered Israel a number of times using this method."


Police are expected to ask the Beit She'an Magistrate Court to extend the remand of the two smugglers and four illegal workers.


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