March 17 (UPI) -- Authorities say they have broken up a smuggling ring that involved several members of the Israeli military, which stole items from bases and sent some of them to Palestinian territories.
Israel Police, the Shin Bet intelligence service and military authorities announced Monday that six members of the Israel Defense Force were among nearly two dozen suspects busted in the sting, which was dubbed Operation Brothers-In-Arms.
Authorities said the scheme involved stealing equipment from military bases and replacing it with counterfeit items. The plot was uncovered when troops learned the bogus equipment didn't work.
Police say the active-duty soldiers used their roles as drivers to gain access to arms depots.
"The soldiers stole large quantities of ammunition from the military and even stole working gun parts and replaced them with counterfeit components," police said, adding that the stolen ammo was sold on the black market to criminal gangs in Israel's Negev desert region -- as well as territory controlled by the Palestinian Authority.
Investigators said a break in the case came in December when police detected an attempt to smuggle 4,000 bullets into the West Bank.
Police said the soldiers involved in the ring were indicted in a military court on Monday, and the civilian suspects will be charged in the coming days.