Beersheba Bedouins indicted for smuggling weapons, drugs from Jordan

The indictment comes just two days after a terror attack by a Bedouin in Beersheba, killing four civilians.

 Israeli police officers clash with Bedouins during a protest against tree planting by the Jewish National Fund, outside the Bedouin village of al-Atrash in the Negev desert, southern Israel, January 13, 2022. (photo credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)
Israeli police officers clash with Bedouins during a protest against tree planting by the Jewish National Fund, outside the Bedouin village of al-Atrash in the Negev desert, southern Israel, January 13, 2022.
(photo credit: JAMAL AWAD/FLASH90)

The Southern District Attorney’s Office on Thursday filed an indictment against two Bedouin-Israelis in the Beersheba District Court for smuggling weapons and drugs into Israel from Jordan.

Though there was no organizational connection, the indictment comes just two days after a terror attack by a Bedouin-Israeli in Beersheba killing four civilians and could draw additional public attention to broader social tensions.

According to the indictment, Ayman Abu Iyada, 30, and Yousef Abi Iyada, 28, drove to the Israeli-Jordanian border on March 11 at 7:50 a.m. where they cut through the border fence to cross through.

From the Jordanian side, they obtained two containers containing a mix of 34 rifles and pistols, including Kalashnikov and Belgian models, hundreds of bullets, magazines for the bullets and 27,352 pills of amphetamine drugs.

Around 7:55 a.m., they left the border area but were spotted by Israeli security forces.

Israelis protest at the site of yesterday deadly terror attack, outside the big shopping center in Beer Sheva, southern Israel, on March 23, 2022. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)Israelis protest at the site of yesterday deadly terror attack, outside the big shopping center in Beer Sheva, southern Israel, on March 23, 2022. (credit: OLIVIER FITOUSSI/FLASH90)

During a hot pursuit chase by the security forces, the defendants threw the containers out of the car to try to disconnect them from the evidence.

However, by 8:45 a.m. they had been caught and arrested.

On March 16, as the defendants were being walked past each other by police in and out of the interrogation room, Yousef signaled with his hand to Ayman not to say anything to the police, a form of obstruction of justice.

The defendants were charged with illegally importing and possessing weapons as well as illegally importing drugs and obstruction of justice.

Yousef was also indicted for driving despite his driver’s license having been disqualified.

In addition, the indictment said that there were others who had not been arrested who were also involved in the plot whose identities remain unknown and that it was unclear how far beforehand the defendants had planned the smuggling operation.

The prosecution requested that the court keep the two defendants in police custody until the end of the trial against them.

Also, on Thursday, the Haifa District Attorney’s Office filed an indictment with the city’s District Court against 36 Israeli-Arabs from Umm el-Fahm and other northern Israeli villages for a variety of drugs and weapons offenses.

The indictment came after an extended undercover investigation and as part of the country’s ongoing elevated attention to illegal weapons use in the Israeli-Arab sector.