Police crack Hebron network that tweaked airsoft guns to assault rifles

58 men were arrested, mostly in Hebron, for allegedly converting airsoft guns into assault rifles.

The airsoft guns found in the port of Ashdod next to the parts that could turn them into assault rifles  (photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
The airsoft guns found in the port of Ashdod next to the parts that could turn them into assault rifles
(photo credit: POLICE SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)
Israeli police arrested 58 suspects, most of them Hebron residents, for allegedly converting airsoft rifles into assault weapons, Israel Police's Spokesperson announced on Tuesday.
The network allegedly purchased the airsoft rifles in Israel and purchased various parts that can be used to transform the gun into an assault rifle online. It then operated underground labs to make these changes and the weapons were used to carry out terror attacks against Israelis in the West Bank and in Israel.
The investigation, which lasted for roughly six months, began when concealed parts were found in a shipping container that reached the port of Ashdod from the US with mostly toys and electronics.
The smuggled parts were meant for a Palestinian resident of Idhna, near Hebron.
Hundreds of airsoft weapons were confiscated and NIS 300,000 were frozen in bank accounts. Two shops that sold these guns illegally were shut down and 7 indictments served, 58 suspects were arrested so far.

 
     
Airsoft weapons were invented in Japan in the 1970s and are today a sport, much like paintball. Unlike paintball, where hits can be clearly seen as the bullet contains paint, airsoft is based on trust with players giving notice when they are shot. The hobby is legal in Israel and other countries and, unlike air-rifles, one doesn't need a license to purchase such a weapon.