Weapons theft from IDF bases on the rise

Officials attribute uptick to the completion of Israeli-Egyptian border fence, which has significantly affected supply

Marissa Newman is The Times of Israel political correspondent.

Illustrative photo of an Uzi machine gun (Youtube screenshot)
Illustrative photo of an Uzi machine gun (Youtube screenshot)

There was an uptick in attempts to steal weapons from IDF bases in 2013, in part due to the construction of the Egyptian-Israeli border fence, which has significantly curbed arms smuggling, an IDF Military Police report released Monday said.

While the total number of arms stolen is not drastically different from previous years, the number of isolated break-ins has been on the rise, with 11 incidents in the past year.

“In the past there were just one or two incidents like this per year, for example entering a complex where 12 soldiers were sleeping and stealing two MAGs [machine guns],” a senior officer in the military police explained, according to Haaretz.

The break-ins were noticeably more sophisticated and daring than past attempts, the officer said.

Sixty-two guns were reported stolen from the IDF in 2013, in comparison to 89 in 2012, and 55 in 2011. Nineteen of the weapons stolen this year were snatched from inside soldiers’ homes, while 26 were taken from military units.

Several of the stolen weapons later surfaced in connection to organized crime in Israel, Military Police Chief Golan Maimon said.

IDF officials have attributed the spike in theft to the completion of the border fence between Israel and Egypt, which has resulted in a price hike for guns on the market, a reduced supply and an increased demand.

“Once, weapons cost NIS 8,000 on the market, and today [the cost of a gun] could reach NIS 40,000,” Maimon said.

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