Ending the months-long operation by the Israel Police, Shin Bet and the IDF, 9 men are arrested in Nablus, finally dismantling a vast smuggling network that used mail-ordered combat equipment to supply terrorist cells in Gaza & the West Bank.
By Yoav Zitun
An operation to bring down a weapon parts and combat accessories smuggling network was finished Tuesday night as the IDF, Shin Bet, Israel Police and customs stormed the last operating shop in Nablus, seizing illegally smuggled equipment and arresting the shop owner.
The smuggling network ran by ordering the equipment online from undisclosed countries to the Ashdod port by ship, and from there, sending it by mail or some other legitimate delivery system to a recipient in either Balata or Casbah refugee camps in Nablus.
The operation, which began in the summer of 2016, started after a routine check by customs of an innocent-looking package revealed it to hold weapon parts.
The packages found to be holding the smuggled equipment were usually labeled as “plastic parts” or “cloth manufacturing,” and so IDF believes that hundreds of shipments managed to successfully reach their destination before the system was revealed.
The shop owner was the ninth person to be arrested since the raids by security forces started in December as part of this months-long operation. During Tuesday’s raid a wedding dress shop was also revealed to be run by the main suspects and served as part of the smuggling network.
All in all, as part of the operation security forces seized three M16s, hundreds of bullets, 25 scopes, several laser scopes for sniper rifles, one M4, about 200 small weapon parts, dozens of tactical combat vests and more.
These join the 500 weapons that IDF seized last year, the 170 weapons seized in the Gaza Strip alone in 2015, and, by careful estimations, more than 500 weapons which will be seized this year. In addition, IDF stated to have uncovered over 50 weapon manufacturing factories as part of their fight against illegal combat equipment.
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