Israel convicts French consulate worker of Gaza-West Bank gun-running
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Israel convicts French consulate worker of Gaza-West Bank gun-running

Prosecutors seek seven years for Romain Franck, 24, who used official car to smuggle dozens of weapons for financial gain

French consulate worker Romain Franck, an employee of France's Consulate in Jerusalem, covers his face during a hearing at the district court in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, March 19, 2018. (Sebastian Scheiner/AP)
French consulate worker Romain Franck, an employee of France's Consulate in Jerusalem, covers his face during a hearing at the district court in the southern Israeli city of Beersheba, March 19, 2018. (Sebastian Scheiner/AP)

A French employee of his country’s consulate in Jerusalem was convicted Thursday of smuggling dozens of guns from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank in an official car.

The Beersheba District Court found Romain Franck, a 24-year-old French citizen who worked as a driver at the consulate, guilty of several weapons offenses, the Ynet news site reported.

He was convicted of importing weapons, carrying and transporting them, and accepting items fraudulently under aggravated circumstances.

The State Attorney’s Office reportedly asked the court to sentence Franck to seven years imprisonment and give him a fine.

Franck took advantage of reduced security checks for consular vehicles to transport the weapons out of Gaza to the West Bank. He was accused along with several Palestinian suspects of belonging to a gun-running network.

Israeli authorities have stressed he acted on his own without the consulate’s knowledge, adding that diplomatic relations with France were not affected.

According to the Shin Bet domestic security agency, he was motivated by money and was paid a total of around $5,500.

It said Franck, who was arrested on February 15, had transferred 70 pistols and two automatic rifles in five trips. A total of nine suspects were arrested in the affair.

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