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Israel arrests French citizen for arms smuggling

Israel said on Monday it had arrested a French citizen, an employee of France’s consulate in Jerusalem, on suspicion of smuggling weapons to Palestinians.

In a Hebrew-language statement, the Shin Bet security service said the Frenchman used a consulate vehicle to elude Israeli security checks.

The services said that the French citizen also moved 70 pistols and two assault rifles through the Erez crossing on the Israel-Gaza border to the occupied West Bank on at least five occasions.

The French embassy in Israel said it was cooperating with Israel on its arrest of a French consular staffer accused of using a diplomatic vehicle to smuggle guns between Palestinians in the Gaza Strip and the West Bank.

“We take very seriously this case … and we work very closely with the Israeli authorities on this matter,” said an embassy spokesman, who declined to comment further on the allegations against the staffer, a French citizen.

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