IDF soldiers arrested for collaborating with Palestinian smugglers

Four soldiers and a security guard are suspected of taking bribes to let Palestinians through a checkpoint to smuggle weapons and goods.

By Paul Shindman, World Israel News

Military police arrested four IDF soldiers Monday who are suspected of collaborating with Palestinian smugglers and allowing the transfer of goods and weapons at the checkpoint where they were stationed, Channel 12 reported.

The undercover investigation lasted several months during which the soldiers and a private security guard serving at a military checkpoint in the Hebron hills south of Jerusalem were suspected of being bribed to allow stolen Israeli vehicles and Palestinian trucks smuggling weapons and contraband into Judea and Samaria.

At the end of the operation 10 suspects were arrested, including four residents of the south of the country, two Palestinians and four soldiers who were stationed at the crossing. During the search of the suspects’ homes, police seized cash worth about 160,000 shekels ($47,000), two trailers, computers, bullet magazines, and ammunition for weapons.

All the detainees are currently being interrogated and will later be brought to court for hearings.

“At the beginning of the investigation, we identified a dangerous and unusual phenomenon in which military personnel involved in the security and safety of the public are involved,” said the commander of the Judea region, Deputy Chief of Staff Dudi Hayun.

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“This operation joins a variety of other operational activities in combination with the Israel Police and the rest of the security forces in order to reduce the crime flowing from the territories of Judea and Samaria to Israel and vice versa,” Hayun said.

The head of the IDF’s special investigations unit, Lt. Col. Yaniv Horesh, said the IDF will continue to work with Israel’s national police force as a “moral safety net” to eradicate crime in the ranks, in order to eliminate the harm it causes to the IDF and the State of Israel.