Police uncovered a major criminal operation in which IDF weapons worth hundreds of thousands of shekels were stolen from an army base and sold to criminals, it was announced on Thursday.
Two IDF soldiers, residents of Netanya, were arrested by the central district's central unit on Thursday and five additional suspects who are believed to have distributed and purchased the firearms were also arrested following the completion of a joint undercover investigation by police and Military Police. RELATED:Remand extended for soldier who allegedly returned gunUS: Ahmadinejad's visit insult to Lebanese sovereigntyIDF officer sentenced for stealing equipment off Marmara
The stolen weapons included M-16 machine guns, rifles, grenade launchers, and a large quantity of ammunition.
"The two soldiers worked together to steal the weapons and neutralized security measures in place on base," Ch.-Supt. Tomer Cohen, head of the central unit's investigation division told The Jerusalem Post on Thursday.
"They transferred the weapons to a group of people who acted as intermediaries. These in turn hid the firearms and then sold them to senior criminals," Cohen added.
"We are now checking to see if any of the weapons ended up in the hands of terrorists," Cohen said.
"Unfortunately, the use of stolen firearms by criminals is quite widespread. For criminals, it is an advantage to be armed with IDF weapons, as these have not been used in past criminal incidents, making it harder to track them down through forensics," Cohen added.
Police said a number of suspects have confessed to the suspicions against them, adding more arrests could follow.