French consulate worker charged with smuggling weapons for Palestinian cell

An employee of the French consulate was apprehended for smuggling weapons for a Palestinian synidcate operating in Gaza and the Judea and Samaria region.

By: World Israel News Staff

On Monday, the Israel Security Agency (Shin Bet) confirmed that French national Roman Franck, who is employed at France’s Jerusalem consulate, was arrested in February for illegally smuggling pistols and rifles into the Gaza Strip.

The Shin Bet announced that the Frenchman used a consular vehicle to evade Israeli security procedures and searches, transferring 70 pistols and two assault rifles to members of a Palestinian smuggling ring. The smuggling allegedly occurred over the course of five trips and was orchestrated by a cell made up of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem.

The cell smuggled weapons from the Gaza Strip to Judea and Samaria via Franck. The operation employed a Palestinian resident of Gaza employed by the French Cultural Center in the Strip, who transferred weapons to Franck. Franck then delivered the weapons to a Palestinian in Judea and Samaria, who sold them to an arms dealers.

The authorities arrested nine suspects so far, six of whom were indicted by the State Attorney’s Office.

According to Shin Bet, “Franck acted for financial gain, of his own accord and unbeknownst to his superiors.”

A senior Shin Bet officer stated, “This is a very grave incident in which the immunity and privileges granted to foreign missions in Israel was cynically exploited in order to smuggle dozens of weapons which could have been used in terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and members of the security forces.”

The Gaza Strip is overseen by the Hamas terrorist organization and is a hotbed for criminal activity by groups like Islamic Jihad and narcotics traffickers. Hamas is routinely caught trying to smuggle weapons into the coastal enclave by a variety of means.

Franck is reportedly 24-years-old, according to France’s Le Figaro, and worked as a driver, in addition to other positions.

This is not the first time members of the French diplomatic corps have allegedly broken Israeli smuggling laws. In 2013, a French consulate employee was detained for trying to smuggle goods from Jordan into Israel using a consular vehicle.