Naftali Base
Photo: Haggai Aharon

Soldier arrested for allegedly aiding gun-thieves

Military Police nabs four suspected of stealing M-16 guns from northern IDF base; one suspect claims he was thieves' victim, but police suspect he was part of plot

Four residents of Bir al-Maksur in their 20s were arrested for allegedly stealing M-16 guns from the Naftali Base near the Golani Junction in northern Israel, on two separate incidents.


According to suspicion, one of the suspects, a 19-year-old soldier who reported his weapon had been stolen in the incident, actually fabricated the story and collaborated with the other suspects.


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Following an interrogation, the four will be brought for a remand hearing Friday in a Nazareth court.


The arrested soldier is suspected of collaborating with the thieves, his neighbors in the Bir al-Maksur village in northern Israel. According to suspicions, he posed as the thieves' victim, who broke last October and on June into the Naftali Base.


Military Police suspect that the soldier also collaborated on the previous, more violent incident which occurred a year ago, in the course of which four M-16s were stolen and the robbers even handcuffed a soldier.


Military Police have invested many investigative tools, including surveillance, to crack the ongoing case, and have interrogated all the soldiers in the base. But the IDF is still trying to locate the five guns, most likely sold to criminals.


The arrested soldier has denied the allegations, but according to a high-ranking officer within the Military Police, the investigators have hard evidence against him, as well as the testimony of another suspect who incriminated him.


Police and Military Police requested the court to remand the suspects. Following the break-ins, security in Naftali Base has been boosted, intelligence relays between Military Police and their civilian counterparts in the northern district have been strengthened.


According to Military Police, so far 11 weapons were stolen from soldiers' homes and an additional 18 from IDF bases, while last year the number stood at about a hundred – half of which were found and returned.


Last week Military Police Chief Colonel Erez Raban held a special discussion on the issue with Deputy Chief of Staff Maj. Gen. Gadi Eizenkot, who instructed him to increase activity against the phenomenon.


Over recent months the IDF held some 2,000 activities on the subject.


Yoav Zitun contributed to this report



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פרסום ראשון: 07.11.13, 23:15
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