Police say they foiled smuggling of 137 guns, in biggest-ever arms bust on Jordan border

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

Police officers pose with weapons seized on the Jordan border, November 23, 2023. (Israel Police)
Police officers pose with weapons seized on the Jordan border, November 23, 2023. (Israel Police)

Police say officers and IDF troops recently foiled an attempt to smuggle 137 guns into Israel from Jordan, in what it says is the largest-ever weapons bust on the Jordanian border.

In recent months, police’s Magen anti-smuggling unit has been following a weapons smuggling ring involved in many attempts to bring guns into Israel from Jordan, police say.

Last Thursday, members of the unit stationed near the southern town of Tzofar alerted other forces of an attempt by the ring to bring weapons over the border.

Troops dispatched to the scene identified a vehicle approaching the border from the Israeli side and chased after it.

Four suspects, including the alleged leader of the ring, were arrested. They are identified by police as residents of Bedouin communities in the Yeruham area, in their 20s and 30s.

In the area, police say the forces found 137 weapons, including 120 handguns and 17 M-16 assault rifles, as well as dozens of weapon parts and some 250 magazines, with an estimated value of NIS 6 million ($1.6 million).

Weapons smuggling is a constant challenge for Israel, along its long, porous eastern border with Jordan, and in the West Bank. Officials believe most guns are being used for underworld crime, and have vowed to crack down as part of an effort to end years of bloodshed in the Arab community.

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