(JTA) — Several engines of F-16 fighter jets appear to have been stolen from an Israel Air Force base, the Israel Defense Forces said.
The IDF spokesperson unit told Army Radio on Friday that the Military Police’s serious crimes unit launched an investigation into the possibility that the engines had been stolen.
The Hebrew-language news site Walla reported on Thursday that the engines — which weigh over 1.5 tons and are more than 15 feet long — were stolen in recent days from an unspecified military base.
Arutz Sheva, a radio station, reported that “senior sources” in the Israel Air Force said the theft appeared to be an inside job, as the base’s perimeter fence had not been breeched. This led investigators to believe that the thieves went in and out through the gates using large vehicles. The parts were slated to be repaired.
Arutz Sheva reported that the engines most likely were stolen by metal thieves.
In July, Bedouin metal thieves infiltrated the IDF base at Tze’elim in the Negev and stole crates of ammunition, which the IDF said were empty. The Bedouins entered the base in SUVs.
An army source called the incident “grave” and said it was the first of its kind, the Times of Israel reported.