Israeli tank stolen from IDF base

Police launch investigation after Merkava tank stolen from army base in northern Israel.

By World Israel News Staff

A tank stolen from the northern moshav of Eliakim in the Megiddo Regional Council showed up in a scrap yard about 20 kilometers away, Israel Police reported Wednesday.

The tank, an Israeli-made Merkava, was first reported missing by the Defense Ministry.

The Defense Ministry said that the circumstances of the case are being investigated and that it’s unclear how the tank ended up such a long distance from its original location, in a scrap yard near the town of Nesher, south of Haifa.

Two suspects – one a resident of Haifa and the other a resident of Tiberias – have been taken into custody in connection with the investigation.

The incident comes amidst a spike in terror attacks attributed to in part by a large number of weapons smuggling attempts and army thefts.

Earlier this month, Israeli authorities arrested three men — including two Arab-Israelis — accused of smuggling guns and explosive devices for the Palestinian Islamic Jihad terror group in early August.

The Israeli nationals were identified as Samer Knoh and Osama Haruf, both residents of the Tulkarm area. The third suspect, also from the Tulkarm area, was not identified

The Shin Bet said the three were arrested on August 3 while smuggling weapons across the Jordanian border. They were caught with guns and ammunition. Investigators discovered the two Israelis had been recruited by Palestinian Islamic Jihad operatives based in the Jenin refugee camp.

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Further investigation revealed that Knoh and Haruf had transferred weapons and money to terror operatives in the Nur Shams refugee camp, near Tulkarm. The suspects also told interrogators details about terror attacks being planned in the Nur Shams camp.

Terror groups in Judea and Samaria have been using more powerful reverse-engineered Iranian improvised explosive devices (IEDs). At the end of August, four Israeli soldiers were wounded by an IED during an operation in Shechem (Nablus) escorting Jewish worshipers to Joseph’s Tomb.

In recent weeks, Israeli forces intercepted two attempts to smuggle in Iranian explosives.

In the first instance, four Arab-Israeli citizens were caught in Lod with Claymore mine-type explosives directly linked to Hezbollah. In the second case, just three days later, two large explosives were seized during an attempt to smuggle them from Jordan into Israel.