IDF soldiers tank Mefalsim area_311.
(photo credit: Reuters)
Some crooks think big.
The southern district attorney filed an indictment
in the Beersheba District Court on Tuesday, charging a resident of the Beduin
city of Rahat with breaking into a closed military zone on Saturday and
attempting to steal a tank chassis worth NIS 65,000.
The defendant was
captured and detained by an IDF officer who happened to be on the scene, the
district attorney said.
According to the indictment, Abdullah el-Waj, 43,
entered a closed military zone belonging to the Tze’elim IDF base in the Negev
at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
The area is clearly marked as a firing zone and
IDF units use it to carry out live-fire military training exercises using tank
chassis and other military vehicles, the indictment said.
The goal of
these exercises, the indictment explained, includes training military personnel
in accurate shooting and improving soldiers’ firing skills and
The indictment alleges that once in the closed military
zone, el-Waj used a welding tool to break up an iron tank chassis and then
attempted to steal the metal parts.
El-Waj caused willful damage to
property belonging to the armed forces, and in doing so harmed state security,
the indictment said.
The defendant is charged with damage to property
used by the armed forces in an effort designed to impair national security,
which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
El-Waj is also
charged with attempted theft and with entering a military zone, which carries a
maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
The indictment said the tank
chassis used in the training cost around NIS 65,000 each and their theft reduces
the army’s capacity to train. Thieves attempting to steal them also risk being
caught in live fire, should they happen upon a training exercise, the indictment
Alongside the indictment, the district attorney also filed a
request to remand el-Waj for the duration of the legal proceedings against
In that request, attorney Alina Shkaf- Abadi of the southern
district attorney’s office said that the theft of iron, particularly in the
South, was a crime that had to be eradicated.