Army tank stolen from military base in Israel found in scrapyard

The decommissioned tank was found in a scrap yard 20km from an army training base in northern Israel, authorities say.

Israeli soldiers take part in a military exercise near Moshav Trump Heights in the Israeli-annexed Golan Heights
Israeli soldiers take part in a military exercise near the Trump Heights settlement in the Israeli-occupied Golan Heights on June 22, 2023 [Jalaa Marey/AFP]

A tank that was stolen from a military base in northern Israel has been found in a scrapyard, police have said.

The Israeli Ministry of Defence had reported the theft of a tank from an army training base near Eliakim Interchange north of Israel, the police said in a statement on Wednesday.

The tank was later found 20km (12 miles) south of the coastal city of Haifa in a scrapyard.

“From a preliminary investigation of the circumstances of the case, it is suspected that the tank is not active and was stolen from the scene for reasons that are being investigated at this stage,” a police statement said.

“Upon locating the stolen tank, a notification was sent to the Ministry of Defence and the police opened a joint investigation with the Ministry of Defence,” it said.

A military statement said the tank was just the chassis of a Merkava Mk II that was decommissioned many years ago.

“It has no means of armament, and its systems do not function,” the statement said. “The tank was stationed in a firing area, that’s open to any passersby, and was used as a stationary vehicle for soldiers’ exercises.”

The statement said the tank “was returned to the security system”.

“The investigation of the incident continues, and a command investigation will also take place,” it added.

Two suspects have been arrested in relation to the theft, according to The Jerusalem Post.

Last February, two veteran army soldiers stole a tank from the Golan Heights to protest against the government’s plans to overhaul the country’s judiciary.

Israel has been in political turmoil in recent months over a government plan to introduce judicial reforms seen by the opposition as a power grab in favour of the executive authority.

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, however, insists that the reform would enhance democracy and restore the balance among the legislative, executive and judicial branches of the government.

Source: Al Jazeera and news agencies, Anadolu