Israel releases Jordanian MP who tried to smuggle guns to terrorist groups

Imad Al-Adwan was caught trying to bring in over 200 guns and nearly 100 kg. of gold through the Allenby Bridge crossing.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Israel freed Jordanian parliamentarian Imad Al-Adwan Sunday morning after catching him trying to smuggle in hundreds of weapons, gold and ammunition to terrorist groups through the Allenby Bridge crossing from his country two weeks ago.

Jordan brought heavy diplomatic pressure to bear on Jerusalem, and the government agreed to let him go after Amman signed on to prosecute the legislator locally, even promising that he would be dealt with “harshly.”

Following his arrest, Jordanian security detained several of Al-Adwan’s alleged accomplices in the kingdom who were linked to the smuggling attempt. Israeli forces also arrested a number of suspected colleagues in Judea and Samaria.

Al-Adwan, 35, is a member of the Palestine Committee in Jordan’s parliament and has often made public statements in support of terrorist acts against Israel.

Although diplomats as a rule do not have their bags examined checked when they enter a country, Israeli customs officers at the crossing had received an intelligence tip and searched Al-Adwan’s luggage. They reportedly found almost 200 handguns, 12 rifles, bullet clips and nearly 100 kg of gold that were meant for Palestinian terrorist groups in Judea and Samaria.

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National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir slammed the move, saying, “The decision to release the terrorist who tried to bring here hundreds of weapons that will be used for terrorist attacks and acts of crime in the heart of the State of Israel is a strategic and moral mistake.”

“This diplomat should have been in prison for many years and not released,” he added.

The leader of the right-wing party said that the entire Cabinet should have voted on the decision and that the “weakness” of this government in the face of terrorism is showing again.

An Israeli security source told Ynet that “the suspect was not freed; the Israeli part of his investigation has been completed, and he is being transferred to the custody of the Jordanian security officials, who are continuing the investigation.”

“He will be tried,” the source added, but the rest of the “threads” of the investigation are in Jordan and Israeli security has no access to them, so the decision was made to make it a “cooperative effort.”

The Arab MP revealed during his interrogation that this was not the first time he has smuggled illicit goods over the border in the past year. Besides weapons and gold, these included valued civilian items like electronic cigarettes and pigeons, a low-tech method Palestinian terrorists have used to carry messages that are harder to intercept than phone calls or Whatsapps.

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It was not necessarily his anti-Israel ideology that motivated him, as he admitted that he received large sums of money for his efforts. When he was arrested, Foreign Minister Eli Cohen called it “a very serious incident” but sought to downplay it as just a criminal case, telling Ynet that he “does not want to place the blame on the entire [Jordanian] government or the entire parliament.”