debkafile reports from New York that a suitcase containing four Glock 9mm handguns belonging to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu's security detail was stolen from his chartered El Al aircraft after it landed at JFK airport, New York. The bag was supposed to be on a flight to Washington, where Netanyahu met President Obama at the White House Tuesday, July 6. It was discovered later at Los Angeles international airport but the guns were missing.
The suitcase is reported to have been stolen when American Airlines workers at JFK lost it. Authorities are investigating whether the handguns were removed in New York or LA.
debkafile's sources report that Netanyahu's guards are members of a special Shin Bet special protection unit. The incident is seen as a serious security lapse on the party of Israeli and American security officials. It occurred when the prime minister, his wife and party were in D.C. It is not clear why his plane landed in New York or whether he switched to American Airlines along with the missing luggage. This would have required a separate US security screening of the suitcases.
As soon as the theft was discovered, extra security measures were set up around Netanyahu, his party and his aircraft. US authorities began checking airports and turned up the missing suitcase at Los Angeles when Netanyahu was in the Oval Office talking to President Obama. It was empty and wiped clean of fingerprints.
The investigation now turns on how the thieves obtained access to the luggage of the Netanyahu party, knew which bag to steal and were able to spirit it out of JFK when the unloading should have been closely supervised by the Israeli security unit. The incident reflects negatively on that unit as well as on airport security at Kennedy. It is thought that more than one thief must have been involved at JFK and LAX.
Tim Wagner, a spokesman for American Airlines said later: "When you have a situation related to security, we allow the appropriate law enforcement agencies to handle the situation and we refrain from commenting publicly, so that we don't hamper an investigation."