Thieves took advantage of base's weakness to steal 70,000 bullets - IDF

The Head of the Northern Command Maj.-Gen.Uri Gordin held a preliminary investigation into the major weapons theft from the Tznobar.

 The IDF Hosts Leaders from the Conference of Presidents Ori Gordin  (photo credit: IDF)
The IDF Hosts Leaders from the Conference of Presidents Ori Gordin
(photo credit: IDF)

The Head of the Northern Command Maj.-Gen.Uri Gordin held a preliminary investigation into the major weapons theft from the Tznobar military base over the weekend and was told that the thieves took advantage of weak points in the base’s security.

Gordin was presented with the main points of the investigation by the commander of the 210th Division Brig.-Gen Zion Ratzon on Sunday at the base on the Golan Heights. 

Thieves stole some 70,000 5.56-millimeter bullets and some 70 grenades designed to be launched from M-203 grenade launchers near the northern town of Katzrin.

Ratzon stated that from the initial investigation, one of the failures detected were gaps in the security infrastructure of the base. There were also an “abundance” of false alarms and an inadequate response in the ammunition storage complex.  

Though the military has begun to implement a new plan to secure all bases across the country from such events, it will be carried out during the coming year.

10 IDF boxes with10,000 5.56 rifle bullets. (credit: BORDER CROSSINGS AUTHORITY/MINISTRY OF DEFENSE)10 IDF boxes with10,000 5.56 rifle bullets. (credit: BORDER CROSSINGS AUTHORITY/MINISTRY OF DEFENSE)

The investigation found that immediately after the incident, troops carried out extensive scans and inventory counts.  The military is working with the Shin Bet and Israel Police to investigate the burglary. 

The findings of the investigation will be presented to Gordin in about a month by the commander of the 4th Brigade Col. Miki Sharvit who is heading a panel of experts to investigate the incident.

In the summary of the investigation, the commander of the command directed a number of immediate steps, including security practices in all the units in the Northern Command and the holding of another dedicated situation assessment regarding the protection of camps.

“The IDF will continue to work to eradicate the theft of ammunition from the military and will wield a hard hand against those involved in these crimes.”

IDF

New protocol for securing armories

Due to the issue of break-ins at IDF bases, the military created a new protocol for securing armories that they said led to a significant decrease in the theft of weapons from bases and soldiers' homes.

The IDF allocated more than NIS 50 million into additional security measures for on-base armories, including installing biometric scanners, additional closed-circuit cameras and improved locks.

In addition, 50 mobile armories with advanced technology and three doors to prevent thefts were purchased and half of them have been deployed to relevant units. 

The IDF’s Military Police has also increased its presence in bases around the country and works in constant cooperation with the Israel Police and other security forces in the area around bases. The military police is also opening a new force which is expected to finish training this month and be deployed to the Northern Command in December. A second platoon will begin operating in the Southern Command in March 2023.

The IDF has for years struggled with weapons being stolen from military bases across the country, mainly in the southern Negev region. Many of the weapons stolen in recent years were stolen by IDF soldiers along with civilian contractors who worked on military bases who not only had access to bases but knew where the weapons were stored.

Authorities fear that the stolen weapons, which can include machine guns, grenades and explosives, end up in the hands of criminal organizations or terror groups in the West Bank.

Last month, about 30,000 bullets were stolen from ammunition warehouses in the IDF’s Sde Teiman base in southern Israel.