Fighter-jet engines 'stolen from Israeli base'

Israel's military police on Monday opened an inquiry into the theft of airplane parts, a spokeswoman said without confirming press reports that eight fighter-jet engines had been stolen.

"The military police have opened an inquiry into the matter," she told AFP without giving further detail or confirming reports of the theft from Tel Nof airbase near Tel Aviv.

Air force officials quoted in the Maariv newspaper said the stolen parts were eight engines from F-15 and F-16 fighter jets which were taken from Tel Nof air base.

They said it was not immediately clear when the theft took place, but said the parts were no longer in use and had most likely been stolen for their value as scrap metal, the paper said.

Investigators quoted by the paper said each engine weighed "several tonnes" and could only have been taken away on large trucks, prompting speculation that the thieves had help from inside the base.

Military officials quoted by Israel HaYom newspaper described the theft as "very serious."

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