Two arrested in Israel after tank stolen

Police and the Defence Ministry are investigating how the decommissioned vehicle was taken from a military training ground

An Israeli Merkava tank is positioned along the border with neighbouring Lebanon on August 27, 2019.  Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu today warned Lebanon, Hezbollah's chief and the head of Iran's elite Quds Force to "be careful" with their words and actions.
Netanyahu spoke after a series of incidents in recent days that have raised tensions between Israel, Lebanon, Iran and Tehran-backed Hezbollah. / AFP / JACK GUEZ
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Israeli police apprehended two people on Wednesday after a decommissioned tank was stolen from a military range in the north of the country.

Officials said the vehicle was only used for target practice and that its offensive systems had been removed. Police and the Defence Ministry are investigating.

The tank was discovered in a scrapyard near Haifa, 20km away from its original location.

There have been a few incidents involving missing tanks in Israel in recent years.

In February, veterans of the Yom Kippur War stole a tank from a commemoration of the conflict in the Golan Heights.

The pair were protesting in Israel’s anti-judicial reform movement and intended to bring the vehicle to a demonstration. They were detained 40km away from the tank's original location.

In 2020, a family trekking in the Golan Heights discovered several unattended “Merkava 4” tanks. Video footage showed the vehicles parked in a circle, and that at least one of the tanks was full of equipment.

On Tuesday, Israel’s Defence Ministry said a new AI-powered “Barak” tank will enter service.

The announcement came as Israel nears the 50th anniversary of the Yom Kippur War, a conflict in which tanks featured heavily.

Updated: September 20, 2023, 2:48 PM