Robbers made off with several F-16 fighter engines worth millions of dollars from an airbase in central Israel, with the military suspecting that the thieves had "inside help".

Israel’s Walla website quoted airforce officials as saying that preliminary investigations had indicated that the robbers carried out the heist of the US-made front line fighter engines over the past few days.

There appears to be collusion between robbers and some soldiers posted at the airbase, the officials said. An investigation has been opened into the theft, they said.

The report said that the police found no signs of forced entry, mean the thieves were able to come and go through the base’s gate.

Officials do not have a suspect and are not sure what the engines may be used for, or if the thieves were in fact just after metal. An army source called the incident “grave” and said it was the first of its kind.

In June of last year, military police opened an investigation after reports surfaced that several F15 and F16 jet engines had been stolen from the Tel Nof air base, near Rehovot.

Military officials at the time could only confirm that airplane parts had been stolen.

(This article was published on December 6, 2012)
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