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Weapons Theft from IDF Soldiers On the Decline

Hundreds of firearms stolen from the military over the past several years, officials say - but the phenomenon is waning.
By Tova Dvorin
First Publish: 5/28/2014, 6:38 PM

shotguns
shotguns
Reuters

Rumors have surfaced over the past several years that weapons theft from the IDF is a common phenomenon. 

But on Wednesday, new data revealed that the tables have turned, according to Walla! News - and that consistent efforts by leading defense officials to declare war on firearm theft have resulted in a decisive victory. 

The Freedom of Information Movement recently called on the IDF to reveal exact data on weapons theft, according to the daily, and received data over the phenomenon over the past five years.

According to documents received from top military officials, weapons theft is on a significant decline. In 2009, 122 firearms were stolen - compared to 116 in 2010, 55 in 2011, 89 in 2012, and 60 in 2013.

However, despite the decline, experts remain concerned over the raw facts of the investigation, according to Walla!  - noting that the 422 total firearms stolen over the past five years is enough for a small arsenal. 

"The volume of weapons stolen is enough to arm an IDF infantry battalion," a senior official stated Wednesday.  "This is a worrying and serious phenomenon that does not only require tightened security, but a greater focus on prevention by the IDF and the Shin Bet."

The official also noted that the data does not include the theft of other common weaponry, e.g. grenades and other explosive devices. 

The IDF has been actively trying to combat the problem in different ways, Deputy Chief of Staff, Major General Gadi Eisencott only recently presented the programs for an internal investigation - which include, inter alia, the security clearing for combat soldiers to carry weapons, procedures for weapon safety in barracks and in the field.

In addition, the IDF emphasized that only combat soldiers with a level 3 clearance or above can carry the weapons off base, as well as soldiers serving in Judea and Samaria and officers in the IDF or police force.