YERUSHALAYIM - Three IDF soldiers have been indicted on charges that they stole weapons from the army and sold them. Some of the weapons were sold to terrorists. The plot was discovered several weeks ago and the soldiers were arrested, with details of the case released only this week, officials said.
Among the three perpetrators of the plot was an IDF officer, along with two active duty soldiers who had access to weapons caches. The three developed a relationship with an Arab resident of Palestinian Authority-controlled areas, and transferred to him numerous weapons, including M-16 rifles and ammunition. The three soldiers are residents of the Negev, of Bedouin background.
The soldiers would take the weapons and drop them off outside a hairdresser’s shop in the Negev Bedouin town of Rahat, leaving them in an unlocked vehicle. Their PA contact would take the weapons out of the vehicle and hide them inside the hairdresser’s, where he worked, and later would bring them back to PA-controlled areas, where they would be distributed to terror groups. Some of the weapons were used in terror attacks, Israeli officials said.
The gang was caught after six months of intelligence work and investigation by Israeli security officials. The indictment charges them with 13 different counts of violating the security of Israelis, theft, contact with foreign agents, assisting terrorists, and other related charges.
Commenting on the charges, Muhammad Rahal, an attorney for one of the soldiers charged with the crimes, said that his client “had contributed a great deal for the security of Israel. The case against him is very weak, based on the evidence. We are positive that the charges will be dropped and the case will end with no recriminations at all.”