Overnight, the IDF carried out a mission in the Judea and Samaria Division to locate, reveal, and disrupt the region’s illegal weapons manufacturing and trafficking network. This was the largest mission to take on weapons trafficking in the past year.
Forces seized 22 machines for manufacturing illegal weapons in Bethlehem and Hebron, as well as dozens of weapons and ammunition. Seven illegal weapons workshops were shut down by the IDF, and two weapons traffickers were also arrested.
Though this is by no means the first operation of its kind in 2016, it is the largest to date. Since 2016, the IDF has shut down 49 weapons manufacturing machines and seized over 300 firearms. Over 140 weapons dealers and manufacturers have been arrested.
“Over the past few months, the Judea and Samaria Regional Brigade has been leading a significant effort to uncover and dismantle the illegal weapons manufacturing industry in Judea and Samaria,” said Col. Roman Gofman, the commander of the Etzion Brigade. “Tonight we reached a breakthrough.”
Improvised firearms have become a weapon of choice in the ongoing wave of Palestinian terror, along with knives and vehicles. Because of their price – they can be sold for as low as 3000 shekels, or 530 dollars – they’re easy to acquire, and because they have no serial numbers, they’re impossible to trace.
Firearms have accounted for over 25% of terror attacks since the beginning of 2016, resulting in over 30 shooting attacks. Operations like the one undertaken last night, which target Palestinian violence at its source, have resulted in a 30% drop in terror attacks in the past several months. Removing illegal weapons from the streets in Judea and Samaria is one step that the IDF is taking to save lives and prevent terror attacks, whether they are lone wolf attacks or orchestrated by terror organizations.