A French consulate worker accused of trafficking weapons for Arab terrorists will stay behind bars until the ends of his trial, ruled an Israeli court on Sunday.
Romain Franck was stripped of diplomatic immunity by his country last month, clearing the way for Israel to take him to court, along with a number of Arab suspects, for their roles in an arm-smuggling ring, trafficking weapons to arms dealers over the end of 2017 and the beginning of 2018.
Prosecutors told the Beersheba district court that Franck took advantage of the minimal security checks that consular vehicles are subject to, in order to haul loads of weapons out of Gaza.
According to the Israeli Shin Bet security service, Franck was primarily financially motivated, and claimed that he made thousands of dollars for his part in five smuggling runs, bringing dozens of pistols and assault rifles to Judea and Samaria from Gaza.
Arabs travelling between Israel and the Gaza Strip must pass through one of a number of checkpoints and undergo careful security checks by Israeli soldiers. In line with international customs, diplomatic visitors are allowed freedom of passage, although they too are subject to certain checks.
It is believed that Franck would receive the guns from his Gaza-based contact, Zuheir Abed Abdeen, and then hide them in the back of his consular vehicle. When questioned at border checks, he would deceitfully state that he was not carrying any weapons, and that all bags belonged to him or other passengers.
Israel and Arab terrorists in Gaza have fought three wars since 2008. Israeli authorities carry out regular operations to seize weapons from Arab terror organizations in Judea and Samaria, which have been under Israeli administration since 1967.