Less than 24 hours after the theft occurred, Israel's Shin Bet internal security agency on Wednesday arrested the suspects involved in the theft of tens of thousands of rounds of ammunition from the IDF's Tze'elim base Tuesday. The stolen arsenal was recovered as part of the Shin Bet's investigation.
IDF soldiers, along with the Shin Bet and police forces, apprehended two Israeli citizens, residents of a Bedouin town in the Negev, on suspicion of breaking into the Tze'elim military base Tuesday and stealing tens of thousands of bullets from a bunker on the base. During the break-in, damage was caused to the base's security fence and the bunker structure.
Based on intelligence from the Shin Bet, both suspects were located and arrested overnight, and the entire cache of stolen ammunition, approximately 26,000 rounds of 5.56mm ammunition, was recovered. The investigation by the Shin Bet is ongoing, including suspicions of possible security-related connections.
The massive theft in Tze'elim was discovered during routine inspections conducted by base commanders yesterday morning. The officers identified the break-in in one of the bunkers.
"Unfortunately, once again a dangerous red line has been crossed in the lack of governance in the wild Negev," MK Almog Cohen (Otzma Yehudit) said Tuesday.
"This is a very serious incident, and because of this, I demand that the Shin Bet be involved in investigating the incident. These weapons thieves, who are directly connected to the drug smugglers on the Egyptian border (by means of clans and organizations), challenge time after time the State of Israel's view of defense. We must increase the severity of punishment and bring them to justice, and better sooner than later."