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IDF, police seize dozens of weapons being smuggled in from Jordan

Troops operating surveillance cameras spot two bags along border; law enforcement believe arms were headed for both criminal and terror purposes

Emanuel (Mannie) Fabian is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Weapons seized by Israeli security forces during a gun-smuggling attempt along the border with Jordan on February 17, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)
Weapons seized by Israeli security forces during a gun-smuggling attempt along the border with Jordan on February 17, 2022. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli security forces thwarted a gun-smuggling attempt along the Israeli-Jordanian border on Thursday night, seizing some 50 weapons.

In a joint statement Friday, Israel Police and the Israel Defense Forces said troops in the Jordan Valley, with the assistance of soldiers operating surveillance cameras, located two bags with dozens of firearms along the border.

Law enforcement officials said they suspected the weapons were headed to be sold for both criminal and terror purposes.

The guns were estimated to be worth some NIS 2 million ($625,000), according to police.

There were no immediate arrests in connection to the apparent smuggling attempt.

Last month, four people suspected of smuggling guns into Israel from Jordan were arrested by security forces, who confiscated dozens of firearms in the process.

A bag containing dozens of smuggled firearms is seized along the Israel-Jordanian border on February 17, 2022. (Israel Police)

Unlike Israel’s other frontiers — with Egypt, Lebanon and Syria — its border with Jordan is largely open, often without significant fencing, and is relatively unguarded, making it an easy location for large-scale smuggling.

The IDF has stepped up efforts to halt smuggling attempts along the Jordanian border in recent months, but officials have admitted that the military has failed to achieve much success thus far.

In Friday’s statement, police and the military touted the bust as “another success” of the two authorities “working hard to locate the sources of illegal weapons in the Arab community, while eliminating smuggling routes and the trade through them.”

Police have increasingly sought to crack down on the until-now unmitigated spread of illegal weapons in the Arab Israeli community, which have been used to carry out record-breaking numbers of murders in recent years.

According to the Abraham Initiatives, a non-government group lobbying against violence in the Arab community, there were 125 Arabs — an all-time record — killed in Israel in 2021 as a result of violence and crime. Since the beginning of this year, another 12 have been killed in incidents of violent crime.

Judah Ari Gross contributed to this report.

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