IDF soldiers arrested, suspected of aiding Golan Heights base heist

The Military Police's investigative unit believes the Israeli soldiers were cooperating with the burglars who raided the IDF's Tznobar base.

 Israeli soldiers look towards Syria across the border from Mount Bental in Israel's Golan Heights, November 19, 2020 (photo credit: PATRICK SEMANSKY/POOL VIA REUTERS)
Israeli soldiers look towards Syria across the border from Mount Bental in Israel's Golan Heights, November 19, 2020
(photo credit: PATRICK SEMANSKY/POOL VIA REUTERS)

An undisclosed number of IDF soldiers were arrested by Israel Police on Sunday following suspicion that they aided in the theft of some 70,000 bullets and 70 grenades from an Israeli military base in the Golan Heights a day prior.

The Military Police's investigative unit, which was involved in the arrest of the suspects, believes the Israeli soldiers were cooperating with the burglars who raided the IDF's Tznobar base, located near the city of Katzrin.

On Saturday night, Police also arrested several suspects, ages ranging from their early 20s to late 30s, from the Bedouin town of Tuba-Zanghariya, in the North. 

Following an initial probe of the incident, the IDF is now examining the possibility that the thieves were given inside information from some of the detained soldiers, all of which serve in the northern Israeli base. The head of IDF's Northern Command, Maj.-Gen. Uri Gordin, established a committee to investigate the theft and examine all the factors and failures that allowed for such an incident to occur, the military said. 

The findings will later be handed over to the Military Advocate General for examination, it added.

 IDF Chief of Staff (Lt.-Gen) Aviv Kohavi examines the area where the late  Maj. Bar Falah was killed.  (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT) IDF Chief of Staff (Lt.-Gen) Aviv Kohavi examines the area where the late Maj. Bar Falah was killed. (credit: IDF SPOKESPERSON'S UNIT)

IDF struggles with stolen weaponry

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

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

Anna Ahronheim contributed to this report.