An IDF commander says that the crackdown on weapons-making in Palestinian areas has been effective.
Israel has seized dozens of weapons, shuttered arms-making factories and arrested weapons dealers in a crackdown in the Palestinian-administered territories in Judea and Samaria in an effort to quell Palestinian violence, an Israeli military official said Tuesday.
Col. Roman Gofman, commander of an IDF brigade in the region, said the crackdown is making it more difficult and expensive for would-be terrorists to carry out attacks with guns.
The outburst of violence that began 10 months ago, at the start of the Jewish New Year, has mostly involved stabbings with knives, but the situation reached a new intensity with an increasing number of attacks using guns, Gofman explained. Last month, for instance, two Palestinian terrorists killed four people and wounded many others when they opened fire on a Tel Aviv restaurant.
Gofman said that some 200 guns were seized since the start of the year and that 16 factories forging crude weapons have been closed.
The crackdown has raised gun prices, he added. For example, a crude gun based on the Swedish “Carl Gustav” submachine gun cost around $500 a few months ago, whereas now it can go for upward of $2,500.
Weapons makers were also becoming more hesitant to sell arms to potential attackers out of fear that they could be tracked down by the military, Gofman noted.
There has been some cooperation between the IDF and PA security forces in the struggle against the production and trafficking of weapons in the area, although Gofman did not detail the extent of the collaboration.
The current wave of violence has claimed 39 innocent lives, including Israelis and two visiting Americans; about 500 people were wounded.
By: AP and United with Israel
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