IDF uncovers large weapons-making factory in Hebron basement .
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Security forces uncovered the largest illegal weapons factory this year overnight between Sunday and Monday in Hebron, a senior IDF officer said Monday morning.
According to the senior officer, the factory, found in the basement of a family house in the al-Fah industrial zone, included 15 lathes used to produced weapons components, including M16s, Carlo Gustav rifles, Russian 7.62 sniper rifles.
While the factory did not seem to be producing ammunition, in addition to the metal-working machines, security forces found 70 barrels full of hundreds of different types of ammunition. The ammunition for the M16's and Carlo Gustav rifles were found hidden in the walls of the building along with dozens of other firearm components.
This is the most significant arms find by the army and security personnel, the senior officer said, adding that "I have never seen a workshop that makes so many arms, at such an accurate level and for so many different types of weapons.”
Hundreds of soldiers from the 890th Paratrooper Brigade, the 77th armored brigade, combat engineers and Border Police took part in the raid.
Security forces suspected that at least 10 to 15 people worked in the weapons factory, which
had been in operation for a while. The owner of the building, who had initially claimed to be producing agricultural equipment, and his son were arrested with his son and taken in for questioning by the Shin Bet.
Earlier on Sunday evening assailants opened fire towards an Israeli car near the West Bank settlement of Halamisch, causing damage to the car but no injuries.
Security forces believe that most of shooting attacks which have occurred in the West Bank and inside Israel were carried out with weapons locally produced in the West Bank. Israeli security forces, including the Shin Bet intelligence agency, Israeli Defense Forces and police, have increased their efforts to uncover unofficial workshops producing illegal weapons, carrying out near-nightly raids in the West Bank, shutting down weapons factories and confiscating arms, greatly reducing the number of illegal explosive devices and other weapons that could end up in the hands of potential attackers.
According to the army, over 40 gun-making workshops have been shut down and over 420 weapons have been confiscated.