IDF intelligence soldiers (illustrative) .
(photo credit: IDF SPOKESMAN’S UNIT)
An IDF soldier was caught selling three explosive bricks with fuses, ready-to-use by the highest bidder, police said Monday, after a months-long undercover weapons and drugs investigation in the South went public.
The soldier, aged 19, is one of 15 suspects arrested on Monday, following three months during which an undercover police agent bought drugs and firearms from a group of suspects in Beersheba.
Police said that the soldier both stole and sold the explosives before he was recently discharged by the IDF, though they did not specify why.
Upon announcing the arrest, Southern District police chief Cmdr. Yoram Halevy praised the operations against “criminals who steal firearms and weapons from IDF bases and sell them to criminal organizations to use in their murderous blood feuds, crime wars that at times harm innocent, law-abiding citizens.”
The IDF has long been a major source of weapons for the Israeli underworld, in particular the explosives used for making car bombs and the fragmentation and stun grenades used mainly for intimidation.
Amid a wave of underworld car bombs in early 2014, Asst.- Ch. Meni Yitzhaki, head of the Israel Police Investigations and Intelligence Branch, told a Knesset Interior Committee hearing that most of the explosives police seize are factory made and ready-to-use, and are not crude, homemade, improvised bombs – meaning that the source for most of them is the IDF.
In response, the IDF Spokesman said that the army is well aware of the theft of weapons and explosives from IDF bases and depots and is doing what it can in collaboration with the Israel Police and through undercover Military Police investigations.
“We are an army of the people and draft people from all over the country. Therefore, we don’t know whether some of these are or will be connected to organized crime at some point. There are people who serve in Combat Engineering and then later in life join the criminal world, but we don’t know this beforehand,” the office said at the time.