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Israel arrests French citizen 'smuggling weapons to Palestinians'

Israel arrests French citizen 'smuggling weapons to Palestinians'
Copyright  REUTERS/Ammar Awad
Copyright  REUTERS/Ammar Awad
By Cristina Abellan MatamorosReuters, AP
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The man was working for the French consulate in Jerusalem and was allegedly using his diplomatic vehicle to smuggle weapons into the Gaza Strip.

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A French citizen working for the French consulate in Jerusalem was arrested by local authorities for allegedly smuggling weapons to Palestinians.

The staff member appears to have used a diplomatic vehicle to smuggle guns between the Gaza Strip and the West Bank, said Israel’s domestic security agency on Monday.

The Shin Bet identified the man as Romain Franck, 23, and accused him of being part of a broader Palestinian smuggling ring and using his diplomatic vehicle to transport arms through Israel’s border with the Gaza Strip.

“This is a very serious incident in which the privileges and immunity granted to foreign missions in Israel were cynically exploited to smuggle dozens of weapons that could be used in terror attacks,” said the statement.

The French embassy in Israel said it was cooperating on the arrest of its staff member:

“We take very seriously this case ... and we work very closely with the Israeli authorities on this matter,” said an embassy spokesman, who did not give any further comment on the allegations against the staffer.

Nine people, including Franck, were arrested. Franck and five other people will be indicted on Monday.

The French embassy and Shin Bet did not immediately reply to requests for comment by Euronews. The French consulate in Jerusalem declined to comment.

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