In the predawn hours of Tuesday, the IDF, the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and the Border Police carried out the largest raid on West Bank terror infrastructure so far this year.
The IDF said the West Bank operation was aimed at disrupting weapons manufacturing in the Bethlehem and Hebron areas, from where 30 percent of recent terror attacks had emanated.
Security forces found seven workshops, 54 guns and 22 lathes for the manufacture of weapons, as well as other firearms, ammunition clips and weapon parts. Two suspects were arrested for arms dealing and manufacturing, with one handed over to the Shin Bet for interrogation, the IDF said.
Since the start of 2016, security forces have raided 29 weapons factories and confiscated 49 lathes and over 300 firearms in the West Bank.
Over 30 terror attacks occurring this year have involved the use of firearms, and over 140 suspects have been arrested for illegal arms dealing.
The IDF also provided the prices of various illicit firearms in the West Bank, with “Carlo” guns (based on the Carl Gustav submachine gun) running at NIS 2,000 to NIS 5,000, a hand gun costing NIS 10,000 to NIS 20,000, and an M16 assault rifle commanding over NIS 50,000.
“We are conducting substantial efforts to locate, uncover and frustrate the illicit weapons industry on the streets of Judea and Samaria,” said Etzion Commander Col. Roman Gaufman, in a video distributed by the IDF. “Tonight [early Tuesday], we came to one of the factories in this apparatus.”
The video shows dozens of soldiers entering the area, laying out rows of seized guns, boxes of ammunition and machinery, and digging up items hidden below ground.
At the end, the facility is shown being sealed off.
The operation came just one night after Sderot was hit by a rocket, after which the IDF hit 50 Gaza targets in response.
As with the West Bank operation, the Israeli retaliatory strikes on Gaza were the most comprehensive of the year.
They targeted Hamas operational sites that had often been left unscathed by retaliatory strikes.