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Israel News

Shin Bet thwarts 6 selling airsoft guns to Hebron terrorist elements

CM 03/02/2021 1

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A six-man ring which allegedly sold souped-up airsoft rifles to terrorist elements in Hebron was thwarted in a joint operation of the Shin Bet (Israel Security Agency) and police. Its members were indicted, the Shin Bet reported in a Wednesday press release. 

“The accessibility to airsoft rifles, which can be bought in shops across Israel, grew into an industry that turns what seems like a toy-gun into a weapon able to fire like any other gun,” the press release said.   
The ring included three Israelis: Yuri Shaolov from Sderot, Hasan Alubra from Rahat and Faras Abu Alkayan from Hura. It also included three Hebron residents, including known arms dealer Mohamad Abu Haya.Such souped-up airsoft rifles were used in previous terror attacks on Israeli citizens, and Shaolov allegedly knew they would be used for such purposes. He was also indicted for alleged money laundering.  Allegedly, Shaolov used Alubra and Alkayan to sell the airsoft rifles, knowing full well that they would eventually fall into the hands of groups hostile to Israel. It is illegal to sell airsoft rifles or any other item with a metal barrel to the Palestinian Authority. 
As the name implies, airsoft rifles are dense plastic bullets generally thought to be non-lethal. Unlike an air-gun, which fires metal bullets and can injure or even kill, an airsoft rifle can’t – which is why no license is needed to own one (unlike an air-gun). Airsoft rifles are often used in war games similar to paint-ball, another non-deadly shooting sport. Paintballs mark the person who has been shot with paint, while softball employs an honor system where shot players inform the team they were hit.

However, it is possible to modify such rifles by either increasing the gas pressure in Gas Blow Back models (sniper rifles) or using bullets made from harder materials that could penetrate a human target, a source familiar with the sport told The Jerusalem Post.A regular airsoft rifle costs roughly NIS 1,500 ($450) and would usually only be sold to people who are active members of airsoft clubs who play the sport. 

Source: Jerusalem Post

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