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    Israelis Accused of Selling Ammo to Palestinians

    As more and more victims of terrorism are buried, Israel has accused severalJewish settlers of selling stolen army ammunition to Palestinians.

    Five settlers, four of whom are soldiers, and a reserve army officer were arrestedthis week and are suspected of stealing and selling thousands of rounds of ammunition.

    The people arrested include two pairs of brothers, who happen to be soldiers,from the settlements of Adora and Telem, a resident of Adora, and a major inthe army reserves from the southern coastal city of Ashod. In addition, a Palestinianfrom Tarkumiya, near Hebron, was taken into custody on suspicion that he boughtthe ammunition and acted as a mediator.

    According to police, the soldiers have admitted to stealing 60,000 rifle roundsfrom the army and are suspected of selling thousands of them to Palestiniansin the Hebron area. In fact, the people arrested may have been selling stolenammunition over a period of three years. The men have denied, though, that theyhave intended to help Palestinian militants.

    An army spokesman confirmed the arrests and said that if the accusations areproven true, the army would view their actions as ‘very grave.’

    A police representative characterized the ammunition sale as treason to theJerusalem Magistrates Court. He claimed that the accused knew exactly what thetarget of each bullet was going to be. He described the act as a betrayal ofstate security.

    Moshe Negbi, a prominent legal commentator, said on Israeli radio broadcaststhat supplying arms to the enemy is treasonous under Israeli law. Committingthis crime in wartime can bring about life imprisonment or even death.

    The arrests have caused concern in the army over rising weapon theft. Sincethe conflict with the Palestinians have intensified over the past 21 months,there have been increased reports of theft of weapons from army bases. Subsequently,there have been suspicions for some time that the weapons have gone to Palestinians.

    The residents of Adora, the place where several of the accused are from anda major site of Palestinian attacks, were shaken by the arrests. A victim washaunted by the fact that the bullets being shot at her may have been suppliedby her neighbors.

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