DA indicts Beduin for stealing old tank from IDF

Defendant allegedly used blowtorch to dismantle chassis on firing range before being nabbed by IDF officer.

IDF soldiers tank Mefalsim area_311 (photo credit: Reuters)
IDF soldiers tank Mefalsim area_311
(photo credit: Reuters)
Some crooks think big.
The southern district attorney filed an indictment in the Beersheba District Court on Tuesday, charging a resident of the Beduin city of Rahat with breaking into a closed military zone on Saturday and attempting to steal a tank chassis worth NIS 65,000.
The defendant was captured and detained by an IDF officer who happened to be on the scene, the district attorney said.
According to the indictment, Abdullah el-Waj, 43, entered a closed military zone belonging to the Tze’elim IDF base in the Negev at 3 p.m. on Saturday.
The area is clearly marked as a firing zone and IDF units use it to carry out live-fire military training exercises using tank chassis and other military vehicles, the indictment said.
The goal of these exercises, the indictment explained, includes training military personnel in accurate shooting and improving soldiers’ firing skills and professionalism.
The indictment alleges that once in the closed military zone, el-Waj used a welding tool to break up an iron tank chassis and then attempted to steal the metal parts.
El-Waj caused willful damage to property belonging to the armed forces, and in doing so harmed state security, the indictment said.
The defendant is charged with damage to property used by the armed forces in an effort designed to impair national security, which carries a maximum sentence of 10 years in prison.
El-Waj is also charged with attempted theft and with entering a military zone, which carries a maximum penalty of 15 years in prison.
The indictment said the tank chassis used in the training cost around NIS 65,000 each and their theft reduces the army’s capacity to train. Thieves attempting to steal them also risk being caught in live fire, should they happen upon a training exercise, the indictment noted.
Alongside the indictment, the district attorney also filed a request to remand el-Waj for the duration of the legal proceedings against him.
In that request, attorney Alina Shkaf- Abadi of the southern district attorney’s office said that the theft of iron, particularly in the South, was a crime that had to be eradicated.