Thieves take 26,000 bullets from IDF base, 2 arrested

The Regavim NGO charged that “the IDF is the main supplier of ammunition” to Arab crime syndicates in the country.

By Batya Jerenberg, World Israel News

Quick intelligence work led to the arrest of two Israeli Bedouin Wednesday suspected of making off with 26,000 bullets from a southern army base less than 24 hours earlier. All the ammunition was recovered in the operation.

Working together, the Shabak, IDF, police and Border Police found the Negev residents, members of the same family, in their village of Bir Hadaj.

The pair had managed to sneak into the Tze’elim base Tuesday night and break into one of the armories, damaging it in the process of getting away with the boxes of 5.56mm rifle bullets.

The massive theft was discovered in the morning during a routine patrol of the base, and a training curfew was immediately instated while the investigation began.

“Recently, the number of break-ins into the ground forces’ training center went down,” a military source told Walla. While noting that a section wasn’t fenced off and part of it consists of open firing ranges, he said that the IDF has recently instated new measures to protect bases from just such occurrences.

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“And yet,” the source said, “they still broke in and stole from us.”

Tze’elim has been the target more than once for Bedouin thieves. In January 2021, they made off with 90,000 rifle bullets, which required several vehicles to carry it all away. Ten months later, another batch of tens of thousands of bullets were spirited away from one of its bunkers. Robberies similar in scope have also occurred in recent years on other bases and in other areas of the country as well.

Regavim, an NGO which primarily focuses on illegal Arab construction on state lands, said the IDF has become an unwitting accomplice to the wave of crime in the Arab sector.

Bedouistan strikes again, making a mockery of the IDF and national security,” said the Regavim spokesperson in reaction to the theft. “Crime syndicates operating in the Negev and throughout Israel do not suffer from a shortage of weapons, but they do have a shortage of ammunition – and this is where the IDF comes in: The Israel Defense Forces is the main supplier of ammunition, and in this way is aiding and abetting the continued bloodshed in Israel’s Arab sector.”

“As long as Israeli authorities continue to treat criminals with kid gloves, failing to indict offenders or to enforce significant punishments, the mayhem that is destroying the Arab sector from within will continue,” the spokesperson added.

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