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Israel arrests French diplomat who smuggled weapons out of Gaza

March 20, 2018 at 9:21 am

The Erez Crossing between Gaza and Israel in the Gaza Strip on 24 March, 2016 [Mohammed Asad/Middle East Monitor]

Israel announced on Monday that a French diplomat has been arrested after claims that he smuggled weapons from Gaza to the occupied West Bank and Jerusalem, Quds Press has reported.

According to Israeli media, the suspect — identified as Romain Frank — is said to have smuggled weapons through the Erez Crossing, benefiting from the preferential security checks given to members of foreign missions when they pass through military checkpoints.

Frank, the Israeli police and internal security agency Shin Bet claim, belongs to a network of smugglers arrested by the authorities. The group includes a Palestinian working with the French Cultural Centre in Gaza and another working with the French Consulate in Jerusalem.

The diplomat was accused of carrying 70 guns that he received from his Palestinian contact in Gaza, and intending to take them to the West Bank.

Israeli website 0404 said that prosecutors will indict six members of the network, without saying whether the diplomat is among them.

Read: Palestinians cannot exit with food, toiletries or electronic devices at Erez Crossing