Israeli security forces arrested a man suspected of smuggling guns into Israel from Jordan overnight Tuesday, confiscating a large number of firearms in the process, the military said.
According to the Israel Defense Forces, 19 handguns, three AK-type assault rifles, two M-16 assault rifles, a shotgun, ammunition, and four magazines were found during the arrest. A second suspect managed to flee, the military said.
Soldiers operating surveillance cameras spotted the two suspicious men crossing the border, and after a brief chase, one was arrested by police officers.
Law enforcement officials identified the alleged gun smuggler as a 21-year-old Palestinian.
Officials estimated the value of the guns at some NIS 1.37 million ($425,000).
The IDF has stepped up efforts to halt smuggling attempts along the Jordanian border in recent months. Such attempts are foiled every few weeks, but some officials have admitted that the military has failed to achieve much success thus far.
Unlike Israel’s other frontiers — with Egypt, Lebanon and Syria — its border with Jordan is largely open, often without significant fencing, and is relatively unguarded, making it an easy location for large-scale smuggling.
Police have previously indicated guns smuggled over the border are likely to be sold to Palestinians in the West Bank, and Arab Israelis, for both criminal and terror purposes.
Last month dozens of firearms apparently smuggled over the Jordan border were seized.
Authorities have increasingly sought to crack down on the spread of illegal weapons in the Arab Israeli community, which have been used to carry out record-breaking numbers of murders in recent years.