Police claim that the motive for the attack was criminal.

The weapon that was stolen

The weapon that was stolen Photo Credit: Israel Police Spokesperson

It was cleared for publication on Sunday that five Israeli citizens have been arrested in connection with an incident where a weapon was stolen from an IDF soldier at the Beit Kama Junction in the Negev last week.

According to the Shin Bet, the Israel Police and Israel Border Police, the motive for the attack was criminal and not nationalistic, as previously suspected. The three forces worked together to locate the suspects and arrest them.

Two 22-year-olds and a 17-year-old minor remain in custody while the other two have been released.

According to the investigation, one of the 22-year-old suspects took his father’s vehicle without permission and drove to the West Bank, where he picked up a different license plate. He then returned to the Bedouin area in southern Israel, changed the vehicle’s plate and continued towards the crime scene with his younger brother and another relative.

At the Beit Kama junction, the suspects spotted the soldier and proceeded to attack him in what ended as a violent exchange between the four. During the altercation, the attackers stole the soldier’s weapon while threatening him with a handgun.

Charges will be brought against the three suspects who remain in police custody. The other two will not be facing charges.

According to the soldier, four masked men exited a private white Toyota Corolla vehicle, threatened him with a handgun and grabbed his personal weapon, after which they fled the scene, heading toward the city of Netivot.

Police who searched the area found the escape vehicle on the side of the road near the Beit Kama Junction.