How Palestinian terrorists convert toy guns into lethal weapons

Israeli citizen sold airsoft guns for conversion to firing weapons for use by terrorist organizations in Judea and Samaria, the Shin Bet announced Wednesday. Six arrests made.

By World Israel News Staff

The Israeli Security Agency (ISA, or Shin Bet), in cooperation with the Israel Police, arrested three Israeli citizens and three residents of Hebron on suspicion of trafficking in airsoft guns and parts in Judea and Samaria in order to convert them to firing weapons capable of wounding or killing people.

The ISA investigation centered on Yuri Shaulov, a resident of Sderot, who deals in airsoft guns in his store. Over the past two years, Shaulov also trafficked in airsoft guns and parts with Muhammad Abu Hiya, a Hebron weapons dealer who sold the same guns and parts he bought from Shaulov to various elements in Hebron who converted them to firing weapons.

The investigation revealed that Shaulov trafficked in airsoft guns even though he was aware that it was forbidden by law to sell them to within Judea and Samaria, and that the weapons he sold were due to be converted into proper weapons.

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In recent years there has been an alarming increase in the scope of improvised weaponry in Judea and Samaria that is used – inter alia – by terrorist infrastructures for attacks against Israeli civilians and IDF units, according to the ISA.

Improvised weaponry is more accessible due to its being cheaper and more available as opposed to proper weaponry, the agency explains, adding that some of these improvised weapons have been converted from airsoft guns by replacing the barrel and the assembly.

“The accessibility of airsoft guns, which are available in stores in Israel, has spurred the development of an industry to convert seeming toy guns into weapons that fire in every respect,” the ISA said, noting that several deadly terrorist attacks have been carried out in recent years with converted weapons.

In order to carry out his transactions with Abu Hiya, Shaulov was assisted by two Israeli citizens, Hassan Al-Ubra and Faris Abu Al-Kian, residents of Rahat and Hura, respectively, who acted as intermediaries between Shaulov and Abu Hiya and carried out the physical transfer of the weaponry to Judea and Samaria.

The State Prosecutor (Southern District) on Wednesday filed severe indictments against all those involved in the affair.

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“The ISA will continue to act in order to enforce the ban on trafficking in airsoft guns to elements in Judea and Samaria since these weapons are liable to be converted into proper weapons,” the agency stated.

“The sale of these weapons feeds a dangerous industry that produces improvised weapons that, as noted above, find their way into the hands of terrorists who use them for attacks against Israeli targets.”