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(photo credit: IDF)
The Military Police are investigating a Druse soldier suspected of giving three M16 rifles to Palestinians after his family received threats from terror groups. The IDF Spokesman refused to divulge details but confirmed that a probe is under way and that the soldier was arrested on Thursday night and his remand was extended over the weekend.
According to reports on the Yediot Aharonot Internet site Y-net, officials discovered that the soldier's brigade failed to report the missing weapons to the authorities and that the investigation was launched after he confessed to military officials what had happened following a failed attempt to commit suicide. He told military investigators that he had received threats from terror elements in Jenin and had placed the weapons near his base in the hope of being caught.
His attorney Idan Pesah told reporters: "He received a cellular phone and was forced to answer every call and hand the weapons over or else they would harm members of his family." When the soldier attempted to ignore the warnings he was abducted and threatened by strangers, the lawyer said.
Last December, Sgt.-Maj. Ahmed al-Hayeb, a Beduin tracker from Beit Zarzir in the Jezreel Valley, was indicted on 21 counts in the Northern Command Military Court for spying for Hizbullah and drug dealing. He was charged on four counts of attempting to assist the enemy, one count of unbecoming behavior, two counts of revealing information regarding the location of IDF positions and 14 counts of buying and selling drugs. The tracker denied all charges. He was the third soldier from the town to be indicted in the past two years.
IDF officers said his case was unrelated to the recent arrest of a distant relative of the same name, Lt.-Col. Ahmed al-Hayeb of Beit Zarzir, also a tracker in the army, who was arrested along with 18 soldiers on suspicion of maintaining contact with Hizbullah and planning to smuggle weapons and intelligence details to agents in Lebanon.
In September 2002, still another relative, Lt.-Col. Omar al-Hayeb, 42, also of Beit Zarzir, was arrested and later charged on six counts, including contacting an enemy agent, espionage, betrayal and importing and selling dangerous drugs.
Additionally, in March last year, Alex Rabinovitch, 22, a soldier from Haifa, was arrested by the Military Police following intensive inquiries by members of the Coastal and Haifa District Criminal Investigations Department and the Shin Bet. Rabinovitch, of the Combat Engineers, is suspected of aiding the prime suspect, Eliran Golan, also 22, from Haifa, in manufacturing and planting the bombs used in the attacks.