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5 Israelis Suspected of Selling Ammunition to Palestinians

July 19, 2002|From Associated Press

JERUSALEM — Five Israelis remained in custody on suspicion of selling thousands of rounds of ammunition to Palestinian militants, Israeli police said Thursday.

Two of the six people originally detained live in Adora, a Jewish settlement in the West Bank, and their arrests shocked the small community. Adora was the scene of a shooting by Palestinian gunmen May 27 that killed four people, including a 5-year-old girl.

Although it is not unheard of for soldiers to sell stolen gear to Jewish and Arab criminals, it is rare for Jewish settlers to help arm Palestinians who have targeted the settlers for attack.

The Adora residents are Roi Amar, a soldier, and Oded Mulai, a civilian, police spokesman Gil Kleiman said. Amar's brother Sela, also a soldier, was arrested by military police but released on a legal technicality, the spokesman said.

Israeli newspaper and radio reports said the men allegedly stole crates of rifle ammunition from the army and sold them during the last three years to a Palestinian member of the Tanzim militia.

Kleiman said a Palestinian suspect from the West Bank village of Tarqumiya was under arrest.

Brothers Moshe and Nadav Cohen, also soldiers, from the neighboring settlement of Telem, and a sixth suspect, Kobi Uliel, a reserve major from southern Israel, were taken into custody Tuesday on suspicion of being part of the ring.

"We're in confusion and shock," Telem resident Gideon Mizrachi told Israel Radio. "Not just we on the settlement but the whole Israeli people, I think, is struck with disbelief."

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