Gun theft suspects to appear in court

CIU head: Evidence that W. Bank residents wanted to buy guns, give to PA.

Nine people, including two IDF soldiers, suspected of stealing weapons from the Hatzor IDF base and planning to sell them to enemy agents, were expected to be brought before a judge Monday for an extension of their remand. The nine were arrested Sunday after an undercover agent working for the Central Investigative Unit of the Central District allegedly purchased several weapons from the gang.
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Last January, it was released for publishing that approximately 41 M-16 assault rifles and seven M203 40mm grenade launchers had been stolen from an IDF base. Police suspect that the nine arrested Sunday were all part of the network that was responsible for this theft. The Acting Commander of the elite CIU, Dep.-Cmdr. Dani Blorian, said that the thieves "wanted to sell the weapons and to get rid of them at the highest possible price. We also have evidence of Hebron-area residents who wanted to acquire the weapons and pass them on to the Palestinian Authority." Blorian said that the agent who succeeded in penetrating the gang was "a criminal who has operated in this field for a number of years. He was already familiar with the suspects, and when they met, there was an offer to buy weapons of the type stolen." In the course of the operation, the undercover agent also revealed the alleged plans of a Petah Tikvah criminal to detonate an explosive device under the vehicle of Petah Tikvah mayor Yitzhak Ohayon. The criminal allegedly wanted to take revenge on the mayor, who had ordered that an illegally-built stall owned by the criminal be destroyed.