(photo credit: REUTERS)
Thousands of bullets are believed to have been stolen from an IDF base, marking the third time a significant theft has occurred this year despite new security procedures.
“During an ammunition count at a base in the south of the country, ammunition was discovered to be missing,” the army said, adding that Military Police have opened an investigation.
According to Walla News, thieves are believed to have broken into the armory and loaded crates of ammunition into their vehicles, getting away with more than 15,000 rounds for 5.56mm assault rifles.
In May, thieves broke into the Tze’elim base in the South and stole 33 M16s
. While all involved were arrested and more than half of the stolen weapons were recovered, according to IDF Spokesman Brig.-Gen. Ronen Manelis, Chief of Staff Lt.-Gen. Gadi Eisenkot said it was a “very serious incident, as the weapons may be used for terrorist attacks.”
Following the recommendations of the inquiry, the IDF said it would implement a new security procedure for the employment of contractors in military bases, to give the army more control over who comes in.
The “thorough renovation of emergency systems in the IDF created a situation in which many workers and contractors were not approved in an orderly fashion,” the army said, which caused it to change its “whole perception” on the subject.
The theft of the weapons in Sde Teiman, also in May, came just a week after a new directive allowed soldiers to shoot at the legs of thieves. Up until then, soldiers were forbidden from firing, even if they caught the thieves red-handed.
Following the inquiry into that theft, additional security procedures were implemented, which included making sure the names of workers on a certain project match the individual. The way in which external work on army bases also changed, with workers being approved each morning.
The army already allocated NIS 15 million into additional security measures for on-base armories, including installing biometric scanners, additional closed-circuit cameras and improved locks.
Two weeks before the Sde Teiman incident, thieves managed to steal several weapons from a base on the Golan Heights. Two residents of Tuba-Zanghariya were later arrested but the M-16 rifles have still not been located.