In just one in a series of overnight operations in Judea and Samaria, the IDF and police located weapons and gun-manufacturing machinery in the village of Sawahira near Jerusalem on Tuesday-Wednesday, March 15-16.
But the Sawahira raid was just one of many.
The Sawahira raid and others come in response to the recent wave of terror attacks, in which shootings have become almost as prevalent as stabbings and car-rammings. The ability of terrorists to acquire a firearm is rapidly becoming the focus of Israeli security operations.
Where such machinery and manufacturing skills are coming from is the question of concern for the security forces.
The latest findings: Terrorists are using everyday materials to produce guns used to perpetrate attacks against Israelis.
In an interview with Tazpit Press Service (TPS) Rami Shiffer, head trainer of Tamar Weapons Manufacturers, explained that the production of improvised weaponry is relatively simple and can be broken down into three components: the barrel, the internal mechanisms, and the ammunition. Of these, two can be made from home appliances.
“The barrel is quite easy to manufacture, and if you don’t need high precision and marksmanship, then it is very easy to improvise a barrel. They can simply use things like fridge pipes or metal hoses. Internal mechanisms are also easy to produce. All you need are metal pieces,” Shiffer told TPS.
Shiffer’s claims corroborated those of Arie Ben-Attar, deputy spokesperson for the Judea and Samaria police, who also told TPS that many guns seized by security forces are produced using machinery originally designed for other purposes.
“The improvised machinery that they use to manufacture the guns is the same as that used for metal works, but they simply adapt it for the use of gun manufacturing. A lot of the guns that we have seized are improvised,” Ben-Attar stated.
As an example, Ben-Attar added that the Carlo, a fake version of the original Carl Gustav, can easily be produced using everyday materials.
“They use items that don’t even belong to the gun industry. For instance, a cock of the gun is simply an object originally meant for entirely different industries,” he said.
Shiffer said however that he doubted that the ammunition is produced in similar ways. “I doubt that they manufacture the bullets themselves. It is probably stolen or purchased on the black market or something like that,” he said.
Ben-Attar confirmed that Shiffer was correct in revealing that terrorists have stolen thousands of bullets, including from the IDF.
“We have found dozens of guns in the last few months. In the last two or three weeks alone, we have seized two major cases of bullets that were stolen from the IDF. We found one with 4,000 9 mm bullets and 6,000 bullets that belong to the M-16,” he told TPS.
Asked whether a comprehensive solution exists to the problem of improvised gun manufacturing, Ben Attar said that despite the best efforts of the intelligence and security forces, “it is a serious issue.”
Alexander J. Apfel/The Tazpit News Agency