Netanyahu bodyguards' guns go missing on U.S. visit

JERUSALEM Wed Jul 7, 2010 3:37pm EDT

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for his meeting with President Obama at the White House, July 6, 2010. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque

Israel's Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu arrives for his meeting with President Obama at the White House, July 6, 2010.

Credit: Reuters/Kevin Lamarque

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JERUSALEM (Reuters) - Several pistols belonging to bodyguards of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu took an unexplained cross-country U.S. detour this week before four of them went missing altogether, officials said on Wednesday.

A spokesman for Israel's Shin Bet security service confirmed that the four handguns "were part of the equipment sent ahead (of Netanyahu) to Washington, and got lost," adding that Israeli and U.S. authorities were investigating.

A U.S. source familiar with the matter told Reuters that two suitcases bearing seven handguns in all -- four in one bag, three in the other -- arrived at John F. Kennedy International Airport in New York with Israel's security detail and were rechecked for a flight to Washington. But neither bag made it there.

Instead, both bags were later retrieved at Los Angeles International Airport, then were flown back to Washington through Chicago. When the two suitcases were reopened in Washington, the four guns from one bag were discovered to be missing, but it remained unknown where along the line the firearms were taken, the source said.

All three guns in the second suitcase were still in their bag and were recovered.

After meeting U.S. President Barack Obama at the White House on Tuesday, Netanyahu was scheduled to continue to New York. The Shin Bet spokesman said the missing pistols had not forced any change to his schedule or security measures.

(Writing by Dan Williams; additional reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; Editing by David Stamp and Sandra Maler)

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Comments (63)
Whys wrote:
Are the missing pistols ceramic?

Jul 07, 2010 5:55pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
TomMariner wrote:
So much for mutual respect and trust.

And, I don’t know about you, but if four sophisticated handguns in a diplomatic bag from guys who are visiting the President can “go missing” while underneath a transcontinental passenger flight, how much confidence do you have that we really know what we are flying with?

Jul 07, 2010 6:15pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
nemocato wrote:
Civilians are not the only ones subject to homoland security theft. Perhaps now something will be done but I doubt it.

Jul 07, 2010 6:24pm EDT  --  Report as abuse
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