IDF, police seize millions of shekels’ worth of marijuana on Egypt border

Israeli security forces foiled an attempt to smuggle nearly $900,000 worth of cannabis into the country from Egypt on Monday, arresting several suspects in the process, the Israel Defense Forces and Israel Police said.

According to the military, soldiers monitoring surveillance cameras spotted suspects approaching the border from Egypt overnight, and dispatched troops to the scene.

Several of the suspects were detained by security forces, and three packages that were hidden nearby were found, police said. It was not clear exactly how many people were detained.

Some 80 kilograms (176 pounds) of marijuana, estimated to be worth NIS 3 million ($867,000), were seized.

Israel says Egyptian smugglers operate by tossing contraband over the border to Israelis, who then sell the drugs in Israel. The smugglers mostly traffic in marijuana and hashish from grow houses in the Sinai Peninsula, but sometimes harder drugs like cocaine and heroin are smuggled in as well.

Though the IDF is tasked with preventing smuggling along the Israeli-Egyptian border, the military typically strives to avoid direct confrontations with Israeli drug smugglers, leaving those to the police.

Several deadly encounters between Israeli troops and drug smugglers occurred last year.

Monday’s incident came a day after Israeli troops foiled a similar attempt, seizing 20 kilograms of drugs with an estimated value of NIS 800,000 ($234,000).

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