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Israeli police seize 137 guns at Jordanian border

Detectives believe the weapons were destined for Arab criminal groups.

Bedouin tried to smuggle these weapons into Israel from Jordan. Credit: Israel Police spokesperson.
Bedouin tried to smuggle these weapons into Israel from Jordan. Credit: Israel Police spokesperson.

Security forces seized 137 guns being smuggled into the country in what they called the largest weapons bust along the Jordanian border, the Israel Police announced on Thursday.

The confiscated weapons included 17 M-16 rifles, 120 pistols, 35 weapon assemblies, rifle parts and about 250 cartridges, worth around 6 million shekels ($1.6 million). Four suspects, all from the Bedouin community in the mostly Jewish Negev town of Yeruham, were arrested.

Over the past few months, police in the Negev covertly investigated the weapons smuggling ring. Officers learned that the weapons would be moved across the border on Nov. 23 in the area around Moshav Tzofar.

Police and army personnel were prepared when a jeep and several other vehicles crossed the border. A Jeep Landcruiser and several Toyota Corolla vehicles were also confiscated.

The suspects, in their 20s and 30s, were remanded in custody by the Beersheva Magistrate’s Court.

Police believe the weapons were destined for Arab criminal groups, fueling an unprecedented wave of homicides in the Arab-Israeli community.

The murder of a pregnant Bedouin woman in Lod on Thursday morning brings to 222 the number of Israeli-Arab homicides in 2023, according to the Abraham Initiative.

This year’s spike in violence is attributed to organized crime groups fighting turf battles and trying to eliminate rivals. Arab criminal organizations have been involved in extortion, money laundering and trafficking in weapons, drugs and women.

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