Israeli security forces have seized dozens of guns owned illegally by Palestinians in the West Bank over the past month and a half, including two M-16 assault rifles, the military said Tuesday.
The military said it has been cracking down on guns in the possession of Palestinians over the past six weeks, conducting searches in villages and towns throughout the West Bank. With the exception of Palestinian Authority security officials, West Bank Palestinians are prohibited by Israel from owning guns.
“During these sweeps, forces seized many weapons, including 13 hand guns, 25 Carlo-style submachine guns, two M-16 rifles and ammunition,” the Israel Defense Forces said in a statement.
Carlo-style submachine guns are a variety of simple, locally produced firearms, based loosely on the design of the Swedish Carl Gustav submachine gun.
Security forces also shut down five workshops throughout the West Bank where guns were being manufactured.
All of the confiscated weapons were handed over to the Shin Bet.
The IDF said soldiers had also seized hundreds of thousands of shekels that it believed were going to be used to fund terrorist activities.
The past year has seen a marked drop in terror attacks from the West Bank, with five Israelis killed in suspected terror attacks in 2019, a sharp decrease from 2018 when at least 11 were killed.
On Monday, the head of the Shin Bet security service said his agency had foiled over 560 terror attacks in 2019, including 10 suicide bombings and four kidnappings.
“The past year was filled with security challenges on all the fronts in which we operate. During it, we prevented upwards of 560 significant terror attacks, including 10 suicide bombings, four kidnappings and more than 300 shooting attacks,” said Shin Bet chief Nadav Argaman.
The number was a slight uptick from 2018, when the Shin Bet was credited with foiling some 500 terror attacks.