The inactive Merkava Mark II tank was found and two suspects are in custody.
(JNS) An obsolete and disarmed tank was returned to Israel’s defense establishment after it was stolen from an IDF training base overnight Tuesday, the army said.
The Military Police in cooperation with the IDF and the Israel Police opened an investigation into the incident, with two suspects in custody.
בעקבות מידע שהתקבל אמש במשרד הביטחון, על טנק שנגנב, פתחה יחידת החקירות של מלמ"ב בחקירה בשיתוף עם משטרת ישראל ומצ״ח. הטנק אותר במגרש לאיסוף ברזל בעיר נשר>>— צבא ההגנה לישראל (@idfonline) September 20, 2023
The tank was stolen from an IDF training base near the Elyakim Interchange in northern Israel.
A Defense Ministry representative reported the theft to the police and shortly thereafter, Coastal District Police officers located the tank in a junkyard in Nesher, near Haifa.
According to the IDF and the Defense Ministry, the armored vehicle is the shell of a Merkava Mark II tank that went out of service many years ago. It is without armaments and its systems are inoperable.
The tank was stationed in a firing range that was open to travelers and was used as a stationary tool for military exercises.
Police recovered the armored vehicle on a flatbed truck near Kibbutz Gadot, just west of the Golan Heights. It had been taken by former soldiers who fought in the 1973 war and intended to use it as a prop in the protests against the government’s legal reform program.
The tank was draped with a large replica of Israel’s Declaration of Independence, which was signed by the former IDF soldiers. They also spray-painted the word “Democracy” on the side of the tank.