More Than 30 Rifles Stolen From Israeli Army Base

The IDF is looking into whether soldiers were involved; last year soldiers took part in the theft of grenades and antitank missiles from the same base

The Sde Teman army base in the south, 2014.
Ilan Assayag

More than 30 Israeli-made Micro-Tavor assault rifles have been stolen from an arms depot at the Sde Teman army base in the south, and both the army and police are looking for them, the Israel Defense Forces said Sunday.

The head of the IDF Southern Command, Maj. Gen. Eyal Zamir, has formed an investigative committee headed by Col. (res.) Itai Brin, the IDF Spokesman’s Office said in a statement. The military police, meanwhile, are looking into whether soldiers at the base cooperated with the thieves.

A year ago, a company commander and another soldier from the base took part in the theft of 77 fragmentation grenades and around a dozen antitank missiles.

IDF procedures require that weapons be locked away or placed under guard. Last week, after a number of weapons thefts at IDF bases, the army announced a change in rules of engagement. Soldiers are now to treat suspected weapons thieves as suspects in dangerous crimes and may now fire when making arrests if deemed necessary.

The new directive, however, only applies to closed military zones, not urban areas.