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IDF foils attempt to smuggle 265 lbs of cocaine, marijuana into Israel from Egypt

Drugs seized with a value of tens of millions of shekels; troops fire into the air but no arrests made

Cocaine and marijuana seized during a smuggling attempt on the Egypt border, on November 20, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)
Cocaine and marijuana seized during a smuggling attempt on the Egypt border, on November 20, 2021. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli troops foiled an attempt to smuggle drugs worth tens of millions of shekels into Israel from Egypt on Saturday morning, the military said.

According to the Israel Defense Forces, soldiers monitoring the area spotted the alleged drug smuggling attempt and dispatched troops to the scene.

The IDF said troops fired into the air, but there was no mention of any arrests.

Forces seized about 120 kilograms (265 lbs) of cocaine and marijuana, with a street value of tens of millions of shekels.

The drugs were handed over to the Israel Police.

The Israeli-Egyptian border has been used for years as a smuggling location, particularly for marijuana, but for other drugs as well.

Cocaine and marijuana seized during a smuggling attempt on the Egypt border, on November 20, 2021 (Israel Defense Forces)

Last week, Israeli troops seized more than 300 kilograms (660 pounds) of marijuana and hashish, estimated to be worth NIS 5 million ($1.6 million), according to the IDF.

Suspects from the Egyptian side tossed the drugs over the fence, apparently for accomplices on the Israeli side to pick them up. No arrests were made.

Related: Turning to crime-fighting, IDF steps up efforts against drug running from Sinai

The IDF updated its rules of engagement on Sunday to allow soldiers to more easily open fire at suspected thieves and smugglers, in a bid to crack down on crime.

Under the IDF’s new open-fire regulations, troops will be permitted to use deadly force in cases of thefts of weapons and ammunition from military bases, break-ins at bases and firing ranges, smuggling attempts along the Israeli-Egyptian border, according to the military.

In the past, soldiers could only open fire in those circumstances if their lives were in immediate danger, a fact that was generally known by criminals.

Earlier this month, Israeli troops shot a suspected Israeli smuggler and lightly injured him during a similar attempt. Several deadly encounters between Israeli troops and drug smugglers occurred earlier this year.

Though the IDF is tasked with preventing smuggling along the Israeli-Egyptian border, the military typically strives to avoid direct confrontation with drug smugglers.

Judah Ari Gross and Emanuel Fabian contributed to this report.

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