Captain Shadi Bashir, a commander in a bedouin brigade, has been arrested on suspicion of stealing a large amount of ammunition and weaponry from a bunker in the Rimon brigade base, it was cleared for publication on Tuesday afternoon.
Another soldier, Adi Zoabi who serves as a driver, was also arrested along with his father Mohammed.
The Military Police are currently investigating the case in which the two are suspected of breaking into the bunker and stealing 77 frag. Grenades, 13 LAU missiles and a MATADOR missile designed to strike buildings in times of war.
According to the suspicion the soldier and his father sold the weapons to criminals.
In addition two residents of Umm al-Fahm in the Haifa district were arrested for suspected links with crime families.
The district court in Be’er Sheva discharged these two individuals on Monday however but extended the arrest of Mohammed Zoabi by a week. Bashir and Adi had their arrest extended by three days.
In May soldiers in the elite Rimon brigade discovered that their bunker had been broken into and that a significant amount of military equipment had been taken.
Accordingly, the Criminal Investigations Division (CID) and the police began gathering evidence from the area before discovering that Bashir—a 24-year-old resident of Zarzir near Nazareth—and Zoabi used their responsibility of guarding the bunker to steal the equipment in a military vehicle.
The investigation also revealed that the two transferred the weapons to Adi’s father, who already has a criminal record and is known to the police.
The police say that the commander has confessed to the charges leveled against him and even reconstructed events. They added that during the week an indictment will be issued against Bashir, Adi and his father.
However, Bashir insisted that he attempted to stop the theft from taking place at the time but was threatened with his life and therefore forced acquiesce in the crime.
Bashir also claimed that he did not know the criminals who acquired the weaponry and that he did not receive a single shekel for any sales. The secret investigation included wire taps.
The arrest of the three suspects was made possible by the undercover investigation conducted over the past few months by the CID and the police which included bugging the suspects.
The police believe that the weapons were intended for settling scores in the criminal underworld.
The defense attorneys representing Bashir have said that their defendant’s case is different to that of the other suspects. “He did not take part in the theft and he is not a collaborator in it. Our client acted under threats to his life and to his family and he was therefore unable to stop the conspiracy.”
The defense team added, “his version of events is known to the investigators from the different investigative units. It is regrettable that they are continuing to tarnish his name and the good name of his family, all the children of which serve in combat units in the IDF.”
The lawyer representing Adi Zoabi and his father also said, “The two deny the charges against them. They were in the wrong place at the wrong time. We will solidify our defense after receiving the material pertaining to the investigation.”
The IDF spokesperson’s unit released a statement on the case praising the investigative efforts and results which it yielded. “As part of the IDF activities which include preventing the theft of military equipment, the CID and the Israel Police conducted a wide scale investigation which concluded with the capture of those involved in the theft and the transfer of different weapons to criminals.”