YERUSHALAYIM - Special investigative units of the IDF this week conducted nighttime operations to “steal” weapons from IDF bases in order to determine how good security was — and they succeeded in getting away with the goods seven out of nine times. IDF officials quoted by Yediot Acharonot said that the results were “distressing and worrying,” and that immediate steps needed to be taken to increase security at bases.
Among the items stolen from the bases included in the check, located in the Galilee and the Negev, were rifles, machine guns and ammunition. In some cases, top-secret documents were also purloined. In most cases, the investigative teams said that they had no problem breaking into the bases, and locating and removing the weapons and documents, despite the fact that security guards were on duty, the report said.
An IDF spokesperson said that the army “does intensive security checks in order to ensure that security standards are effective and enforced. The results of these security checks will be studied, and the IDF will learn the necessary lessons to improve the situation.”
In recent weeks the issue of weapons theft from IDF bases has garnered a great deal of attention in the wake of a major theft from a weapons storage facility at the Sde Teiman IDF base in southern Israel. Officials said that a group of repairmen and painters who were working on the base broke into the weapons warehouse and loaded dozens of weapons onto their truck, which was parked near the warehouse. After several days on the job, when their presence was already recognized by the soldiers on the base, they began veering off their regular schedule and entered areas of the base where they were not authorized to go. When they realized no one was watching them, they began stealing weapons.
The gang sold the weapons to criminal groups, security officials said. Police found some of the weapons in the possession of criminals and traced them back to the base. The gang earned hundreds of thousands of shekels from their theft, police said. Six people have been arrested in connection with the case.