Saudi Press

Saudi Arabia and the world
Wednesday, Feb 28, 2024

Palestinian police set up team to combat string of armed robberies

Palestinian police set up team to combat string of armed robberies

Palestinian police have set up a special team to combat a string of armed robberies at banks, gold stores, supermarkets, and ATMs in the West Bank.
The emergency step taken by police chief Maj. Gen. Youssef Al-Hillew came hours after the Palestine National Bank’s Aqraba branch, south of Nablus, was targeted by gunmen on Wednesday.

A four-strong gang armed with pistols and a homemade Carlo gun, got away with $17,500.

Saeed Abu Rashid Al-Amouri, the bank’s director, told Arab News:

“While I was sitting in my office, the bank security guard ran in and told me that the branch was being robbed.

“I saw four thieves, two armed with pistols, one with a rifle, and the fourth without a weapon, entering the branch with their guns raised.

“I pressed the emergency button linked to the Nablus police operations center and the central administration of the bank in Ramallah three times, which signals a robbery is in progress that they could watch via security cameras.

“I went out and found the thieves in front of me asking about the cash. I directed them toward the safe, and they seized what was inside and left.

“When they left the bank, they fired twice in the air before getting into their car, which had no number plates, and its windows were tinted. The masked thieves were young men.

“The robbery lasted only 40 seconds, and this is the first robbery I’ve witnessed since I started working in banks 20 years ago,” Al-Amouri added.

Following the spate of recent raids, he said his branch had received instructions not to hold more than $20,000 in cash and to transfer any extra cash to a safe, which takes 30 minutes to open.

Al-Amouri noted that until a year ago, the bank’s guard had been armed with a pistol, but management had decided to withdraw light weapons from all 20 branch guards and gift the guns to the Palestinian police.

He added that the stolen money was insured but pointed out that the crime may not have happened had the robbers known the guard was armed.

“The phenomenon of recent robberies has not been solved yet by the Palestinian police, nor have they succeeded in arresting the perpetrators or recovering the stolen money, which is a matter of great concern,” he said.

Meanwhile, the accounts manager of a large gas station company in Ramallah told Arab News that during Eid Al-Fitr he had been unable to deposit cash in the bank due to it being closed. As a result, he and some colleagues had to guard almost $1 million until the bank reopened.

Many Jordanian and Palestinian banks operate in the West Bank and East Jerusalem and Al-Amouri said the Jordanian banks had been instructed not to arm their guards.

In the last days of Ramadan, armed robbers stole 8 kilograms of gold from a store in Al-Dhahiriya, in the southern West Bank. No arrests have so far been reported.

Palestinian police director of public relations and information, Brig. Gen. Zneid Abu Zneid, told Arab News: “Armed robberies like these must have cross-border links. We believe that a number of such robbers carry Israeli identity cards.

“The phenomenon is hazardous. The amount of stolen money doesn’t matter. The most important thing is how the thieves dared to carry out an armed robbery in broad daylight and open fire inside banks, which undermines the prestige of security, police, and law in the country,” he added.

He noted that fears the bank association or Palestinian Monetary Authority may close branches, had prompted the police crackdown.

Samir Hulileh, head of the Palestinian stock exchange, told Arab News: “It is necessary to intensify and guard police patrols around banks, money changers, and gold and diamond shops.”

Palestinian sources told Arab News that Israel prevented bank guards in the West Bank from carrying weapons in case they were used against Israeli targets.

Hulileh warned that if the robberies could not be stopped, they may cause further damage to the already fragile Palestinian economy.

There are 13 Palestinian and 13 Jordanian banks operating in the West Bank with many branches in cities and towns. In addition, there are 450 money exchanges and 450 ATMs, as well as dozens of gold and diamond shops, and gas stations.

“If armed robbers feel the police force is weak to arrest them and produce them before a court of law, the phenomenon will expand further,” Hulileh said.
Newsletter

Related Articles

Saudi Press
0:00
0:00
Close
Apple warns against drying iPhones with rice
China Criticizes US for Vetoing UN Ceasefire Resolution in Gaza
In a recent High Court hearing, the U.S. argued that Julian Assange endangered lives by releasing classified information.
The U.S. vetoed a U.N. Security Council resolution calling for a temporary ceasefire in Gaza, instead proposing its own six-week ceasefire plan contingent upon the release of all hostages held by Hamas
Prince William Urges End to Gaza Conflict
Saudi Arabia ranks first in UN index for e-government services in MENA
Israel has gone ‘beyond self-defence’ in Gaza, says Labour’s Streeting
EU Calls for Immediate Ceasefire in Gaza Conflict
Israel Records 20% Drop In GDP, War In Gaza Is The Reason
Saudi Arabia's FDI Inflows Grow with New International Standards
Venture Capitals Power Up Across MENA Region
Saudi Arabia Introduces Terms for 30-Year Income Tax Exemption for Multinational Companies
Saudi FM: Establishing Palestinian state is only pathway for Mideast stability
Russian opposition leader Alexey Navalny has died at the Arctic prison colony
Elon Musk's Starlink Gets License For Israel, Parts Of Gaza
Influencers Exploit X Platform for Profit Amidst Israel-Gaza Conflict
PM Modi Announces Opening Of New CBSE Office In Dubai
International Criminal Court's Chief "Deeply Concerned" By Rafah Bombing
January Funding for MENA Startups Totals $86.5 Million
Saudi Arabia accelerates digital economy growth through Nvidia partnership
Indian female military officers commend Saudi Arabia's progress and women's empowerment
Israel unveils tunnels underneath Gaza City headquarters of UN agency for Palestinian refugees
Israel deploys new military AI in Gaza war
Egypt threatens to suspend key peace treaty if Israel pushes into Gaza border town, officials say
Israel Utilizes AI Military Technology in Gaza Conflict
Saudi Arabia Warns Of A "Humanitarian Catastrophe" If Israel Moves On Rafah
China Warns Iran to Halt Houthi Attacks or Damage Trade Ties
US University To Shut Qatar Campus Due To "Heightened Mideast Instability"
Iran-backed hackers interrupt UAE TV streaming services with deepfake news
Facebook and Instagram Ban Iran's Supreme Leader
Finnish Airline, Finnair, is voluntarily weighing passengers to better estimate flight cargo weight
U.S. Secretary of State Blinken: The Israelis underwent dehumanization on 7.10, this does not give them the right to do this to others.
Defense Technology Showcase Held in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia’s non-oil exports rise 2.5% to $6bn in November 2023: GASTAT
UK Bans Misleading "Zero Emissions" Claims for Electric Cars
Gaza's Teen Inventor Sparks Light in Displacement
Netanyahu Rejects Ceasefire Proposal, Insists On Total Victory Over Hamas
Guterres appoints independent UNRWA review panel
Private Sector Employment Hits Record High with Over 11 Million Employees in January
Rolls-Royce Executive Encourages Saudi Women to Tap into Their Inner 'Superhero' for Success in Defense Industry
Saudi Arabia launches National Academy of Vehicles and Cars
Saudi Tourism Minister Reveals Plan for 250,000 New Hotel Rooms by 2030
SAR to more than double eastern network passenger capacity with new trains deal
Saudi Arabia Enhances National Defense with New Partnerships
Saudi Aramco Maintains Arab Light Crude Pricing to Asia for March
NEOM Establishes New York Office to Support Investors
Saudi Wealth Fund Draws in Over $25 Billion Worth of Investments in Three Years, Al-Rumayyan Reveals
ZATCA Cautions Against Scammer Schemes
INTRA Defense Technologies inaugurates drone factory in Riyadh
Saudi Arabia's Minister of Industry and Mineral Resources, Bandar Alkhorayef, has announced a partnership with the London Metal Exchange to set up metal storage and delivery centers in the country. Alkhorayef highlighted Saudi Arabia's expanding military industries sector, crediting the Public Investment Fund (PIF) as a key partner, during his speech at the second PIF Private Sector Forum in Riyadh
×