Police launched a search for a border guard’s M-16 assault rifle after he lost it near the West Bank refugee camp of Qalandiya on Tuesday, a spokesperson said.
The Border Police officer had rested the gun on the hood of his car, accidentally leaving it there as they drove away. At some point it fell off and was apparently picked up by a Palestinian, according to an Israel Radio report.
A police spokesperson confirmed that a Border Police officer had lost his rifle. She said troops were searching the area for the missing gun and that the incident was being investigated.
The officer may face disciplinary charges over the loss of his gun.
It is illegal for Palestinians to own firearms, except for members of the Palestinian Authority’s security services. However, there is a large black market for guns in the West Bank.
Locally produced makeshift weapons are worth a few thousand shekels, an increase since Israeli security forces started cracking down on their manufacture and sale over the past two years.
However, guns like the M-16 or AK-47 can be worth tens of thousands of shekels, more than some Palestinians make in a year.