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Israeli security forces foil ‘game-changing’ Iranian weapons shipment to terrorists in Judea and Samaria

Iran attempts to smuggle strategic weapon systems, including anti-aircraft weapons

Iranian weapons shipment seized by Israeli forces. March 2024. (Photo: IDF)

As part of its operations to thwart Iranian attempts to smuggle “game-changing” weapons into Judea and Samaria, the Israel Security Agency (ISA), known internally as Shin Bet, recently confiscated a large Iranian shipment of advanced weaponry, the domestic intelligence service announced on Monday.

Iranian forces have been working for months to smuggle advanced equipment into Judea and Samaria, including Iranian-made anti-aircraft weapons, to facilitate larger-scale terror attacks against Israel.

Shin Bet and the IDF exposed the operation, and detained and questioned Palestinians who were known terror activists. Their investigations led them to Munir Makdeh, a Palestinian who lives in the refugee camp of Ain al-Hilweh in southern Lebanon.

Makdeh has been known to work with Hezbollah forces and the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in Iran to advance terror attacks for years. He was responsible for recruiting Palestinians in Judea and Samaria, internationally known as the West Bank, to help transfer Iranian weapons and funds to terror cells.

According to Shin Bet, the Iranian regime's smuggling efforts have been directed by Division 4000, the special operations division of IRGC intelligence, led by Javad Afari, and the special operations unit in the IRGC’s Quds Force in Syria.

As a result of the investigation into Makdeh’s activities, Israeli forces confiscated a large Iranian shipment that had already reached the West Bank.

Among the confiscated weapons were two large BTB15 fragmentation bombs, five YM-2 anti-tank landmines with fuses, four M203 grenade launchers, 15 kilograms of C4 explosives, 10 kilograms of Semtex plastic explosives, 13 anti-tank missiles, 15 RPG launchers, 16 RPG-7 rockets and propellants, 15 hand grenades, 33 M4 assault rifles, and 50 handguns.

Senior IDF officials told Army Radio the weapons were a “game changer” for Judea and Samaria.

“The meaning is that if until today the IDF moved in the area with a certain protection, which was adapted to certain weapons the terrorists had in the area, anti-tank missiles and RPG rockets are ‘outside the rules of the game,’ forcing the IDF to have a completely different protection and conduct themselves completely differently in the field,” wrote Doron Kadosh, Army Radio’s military correspondent.

“In other words, this kind of military might turn Jenin and Nablus into Gaza,” Kadosh added.

“Shin Bet, in cooperation with the other security branches, takes the involvement in terror activities directed by Iran and its affiliates very seriously and will continue to take active steps to monitor and thwart any activity that endangers the security of the State of Israel and its citizens,” Shin Bet stated.

In recent months, Israeli Defense Minister Yoav Gallant repeatedly warned against Iran's efforts to escalate tensions in the West Bank.

Speaking ahead of Ramadan earlier this month, Gallant said Israel is seeing a “growing preoccupation of Iran, Hezbollah, and Hamas to turn the month of Ramadan into the second phase of October 7 and set fire to the area.”

Gallant told Israeli soldiers: “Iran is working to up the severity of attacks by smuggling in many weapons,” describing the arms as “high-quality.”

Last year, the IDF revealed it had successfully prevented another smuggling attempt of Iranian-made explosives from Jordan into Israel.

The All Israel News Staff is a team of journalists in Israel.

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