One of the thieves threw a training grenade that exploded but caused no injuries.
By World Israel News Staff
Three Bedouin residents of southern Israel were arrested after they were caught stealing equipment from an IDF base and one of them threw a practice grenade at soldiers, Channel 12 news reported Sunday.
The incident occurred Wednesday at the ‘Yemen Field’ base in the Negev where three men from the town of Tel Sheva allegedly entered the base area and were caught by soldiers loading army equipment into backpacks, the report said.
The soldiers alerted civilian police in Beersheba while guarding the perpetrators. At one point, a 22-year-old resident of the nearby town of Lakia arrived on the scene holding a practice grenade in his hand and threw it at the soldiers. The grenade made the requisite sound of an explosion, but no one was injured.
“It was really stressful and frightening,” one of the soldiers testified to police. “We did not know what he wanted to do. We were really surprised. If it had been a fragmentation grenade it would have ended in disaster.”
Police arrested the suspects for theft of ammunition and for throwing the training grenade at the soldiers.
“This is a very serious case. Just throwing a grenade at soldiers at a military base is something that is not acceptable,” said a police officer from the Southern District. “It could have ended in a very serious disaster. This case should not be taken lightly.”
One of the soldiers identified the suspects, including the one who threw the grenade. The Magistrate’s Court in Beer Sheba ordered two of the suspects released, but the grenade thrower’s detention was extended.
IDF bases in the area are repeatedly targeted by thieves. A soldier who spoke with World Israel News on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak with the media said there is a chronic problem of thefts by Bedouin who wait “with incredible patience” for the opportunity to steal equipment because the military is not authorized to take action against civilians.
Last month more than 90,000 bullets were stolen from ammunition bunkers at IDF’s Tze’elim training base in the south.