IDF seizes M-16s, pistols, pipe bombs in overnight West Bank raids
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IDF seizes M-16s, pistols, pipe bombs in overnight West Bank raids

Weapons confiscated in Nablus are latest in military's ongoing crackdown on illegal gun trafficking

Judah Ari Gross is The Times of Israel's military correspondent.

Illegal weaponry seized by the IDF during raids in the West Bank city of Nablus on September 20, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)
Illegal weaponry seized by the IDF during raids in the West Bank city of Nablus on September 20, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

The IDF seized multiple M-16 assault rifles, pistols and pipe bombs in raids across the West Bank city of Nablus in the early hours of Wednesday morning, the army said.

Four suspects were also arrested in connection to the weapons in the nearby Balata refugee camp, a military spokesperson said.

Troops from the IDF, Shin Bet security service, Border Police and Israel Police took part in the operation, the latest in Israel’s campaign against the illegal weapons trade in the West Bank.

According to the IDF, the troops seized “six M-16 assault rifles, three pistols, 12 pipe bombs and ammunition.”

The weaponry was handed over to the Shin Bet for further investigation.

Illegal weaponry seized by the IDF during raids in the West Bank city of Nablus on September 20, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

Since the IDF launched its crackdown in 2015, hundreds of illegal weapons have been confiscated and dozens of gunsmithing workshops have been shuttered.

According to the army, some 385 illegal guns have been seized in the West Bank so far in 2017.

Nablus and Hebron are seen as major hubs in the West Bank black market for firearms.

In addition to the weapons raids, the IDF made five other arrests in the West Bank overnight.

The military said the suspects were believed to have taken part in violent protests or thrown rocks at Israeli troops and civilians along West Bank highways.

Beginning on Wednesday at 12:01 a.m., the IDF put into place a closure of the West Bank and Gaza Strip for the Rosh Hashanah holiday, which starts at sundown on Wednesday.

The closure is expected to be lifted at midnight on Saturday, the army said.

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