Police nab Hebron man suspected of trying to smuggle gun into Israel

Upon arrest, Jordanian national living in West Bank says he was paid to drive the car, in which an M-4 assault rifle was found

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

A gun found in the car of a Palestinian suspect in the southern West Bank, August 22, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)
A gun found in the car of a Palestinian suspect in the southern West Bank, August 22, 2017. (Israel Defense Forces)

Israeli troops arrested a Hebron man in possession of an M-4 assault rifle as he was apparently trying to smuggle it into Israel from the southern West Bank on Monday night, officials said.

According to police, the suspect, a Jordanian national living in Hebron, drove through a barricade that had been set up in the southern Hebron Hills in light of intelligence gathered by detectives.

As he sped away, police officers gave chase in their car. The man, 30, abandoned his vehicle and took off on foot, with the detectives in pursuit.

He was arrested near the area of Tel Arad in the southern Hebron Hills, police said.

Inside the car, the detectives found the M-4 assault rifle with a fully loaded magazine. In his interrogation, the suspect said he was paid NIS 500 ($140) to drive the car into Israel. According to police, the man knew a gun was inside the vehicle.

Footage of the arrest was captured by a soldier from the Combat Intelligence Corps who was monitoring the scene through a surveillance camera, the army said.

Police said they would be bringing the suspect before a judge on Tuesday in order to keep him in custody.

The arrest came a day after the army said it found an M-16 assault rifle in the car of a suspect who ran off while being stopped in the northern West Bank. That suspect remains at large.

In a separate operation in the West Bank early Tuesday morning, the military also confiscated a locally produced improvised gun in the Palestinian town of al-Shuyukh, near Hebron, the military said.

The owner of the firearm was also arrested, an army spokesperson said.

Over the past two years, the military has been cracking down on the illegal weapons trade, arresting gun dealers and shuttering suspected workshops where firearms are believed to be manufactured in the West Bank.

These improvised weapons, often referred to as Carlos, are comparatively cheap and therefore plentiful in the West Bank. Mass produced, superior guns, like the M-4 or M-16 assault rifle, are far more difficult to obtain and are thus far more expensive, often costing tens of thousands of shekels.

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