Three Israeli Arabs from northern Israel were arrested after taking possession of two shipping containers supposedly filled with Christmas decorations–which were in fact full of knives, swords, Tasers and fireworks, according to the Israel Police.
Especially in clashes on the Temple Mount, Palestinian protesters and rioters in Jerusalem have used fireworks extensively in their battles with Israeli police. The high-caliber fireworks, fired like ammunition, pose a danger to police by penetrating police protective gear, causing serious burns, and can be fatal.
Haaretz reports that the containers were shipped from China and destined for an address in Beit Hanina, a mostly Christian Arab neighborhood of Jerusalem. Authorities believe the weaponry was intended for use by Palestinians in clashes with police.
Police disclosed that the containers held large quantities of weapons, including 5,200 commando knives; 5,500 Taser electro-shockers; 1,000 swords; and 18,000 fireworks, including those of calibers that are prohibited in Israel.
Israel’s Knesset last week banned the import of fireworks for three months due to the danger of their use as weapons. The Knesset committee vice chairman said that fireworks have become a significant danger to the security forces and their use as a weapon must be eliminated.
The seizure of the containers and arrest of the suspects was the result of a coordinated investigation by the police, the tax authority, and port customs personnel. In a covert operation, police followed the suspects and containers to a warehouse in the Israeli town of Afula, where the suspects planned to unload the merchandise. Police discovered the weaponry hidden among the Christmas decorations.
The Algemeiner reports that Jerusalem District Commander, Maj.-Gen. Moshe Edri, praised the personnel who carried out the operation that yielded such a large seizure of fireworks and weapons. “These items have already wounded police and Border Guard officers to varying degrees, and their confiscation is an important and significant step in fighting disturbances and maintaining the security of the citizens of Jerusalem and its visitors,” Edri said.