(Communicated by the ISA)
The following has been cleared for publication:
The Israel Security Agency (ISA), in conjunction with the Israel Police, has uncovered a cell of Palestinians from the Gaza Strip, Judea and Samaria and eastern Jerusalem that – in recent months – smuggled weapons from the Gaza Strip to Judea and Samaria via a French national, Romain Franck, who worked at the French Consulate in Jerusalem.
Franck smuggled weapons five times in recent months in a vehicle belonging to the French Consulate, which received lighter treatment at the border crossing security check, as is customary for such vehicles. Franck thus smuggled approximately 70 pistols and two assault rifles.
Franck received the weapons from a Palestinian resident of the Gaza Strip who was employed by the French Cultural Center in the Strip. The smuggled weapons were delivered to a Palestinian in Judea and Samaria who sold them to arms dealers.
Among those arrested for their involvement in the smuggling are a resident of eastern Jerusalem who works as a security guard at the French Consulate in Jerusalem and Palestinians from the Gaza Strip who were present in Judea and Samaria without permits. Nine suspects have been arrested so far, six of whom have been indicted by the State Attorney’s Office (Southern District).
The investigation clearly shows that Franck acted for financial gain, of his own accord and unbeknownst to his superiors. It was also learned that several of the suspects were involved in smuggling funds from the Gaza Strip to Judea and Samaria.
A senior ISA officer states, “This is a very grave incident in which the immunity and privileges granted to foreign missions in Israel was cynically exploited in order to smuggle dozens of weapons which could have been used in terrorist attacks against Israeli civilians and members of the security forces.”
The foregoing investigation was conducted in coordination with the Foreign Ministry; the French authorities were updated regularly.