2 Bedouin Israelis arrested for allegedly selling IDF guns to Palestinians

Gun-running ring believed to have smuggled weapons into West Bank, where they were resold; Palestinian suspect also nabbed

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's religions and Diaspora affairs correspondent.

Illustrative photograph of a Carlo-style submachine gun. (Israel Defense Forces)
Illustrative photograph of a Carlo-style submachine gun. (Israel Defense Forces)

Two Bedouin Israelis were arrested last month for allegedly selling guns that were stolen from army bases to a weapons dealer in the southern West Bank, police revealed on Sunday.

The suspected Palestinian arms merchant, from the town of Yatta, south of Hebron, was also arrested in March, police said.

Indictments were filed against the two Israeli suspects on April 9, and the Palestinian suspect was charged on Sunday.

With the final indictment, the gag order that had been put on the case was removed.

The two Bedouin Israelis, from the village of Aroer in the northern Negev desert, were arrested in March. They were suspected of selling guns — some of them stolen from army bases in the Negev — to the Yatta man, the police said.

The Palestinian suspect is believed to “sell weapons on a very large scale” in the West Bank, according to the police statement.

A third Arab Israeli citizen was also arrested for allegedly helping facilitate the arms sales between the Negev and the West Bank.

The arrests were part of a joint operation by the Israel Police and Shin Bet security service.

During their investigation, police did not uncover any of the army weapons, but found two makeshift Carlo-style submachine guns and some magazines.

Army bases in the Negev desert are routinely robbed, often by Bedouin Israelis who live nearby. Though the problem is well known, it has gone mostly unaddressed. Due to their locations — far from cities and towns — there is generally limited police presence in the area, and the military is limited in its ability to arrest would-be thieves.

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