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Israel jails French consulate worker

An Israeli court on Monday sentenced a former French consulate worker to seven years in prison after claiming smuggling guns from the Gaza Strip after a plea bargain.

Romain Franck, who worked as a driver for the consulate, went on trial after being accused of exploiting reduced security checks for diplomats to smuggle 70 pistols and two automatic rifles from the Gaza Strip to the West Bank, two Palestinian territories that are physically separated by Israel.

The occupation authorities claimed that the weapons were given to Franck by a Palestinian resident of the Gaza Strip employed at the French Cultural Center in the blockaded enclave.

He was also given a fine of 30,000 shekels ($8,000, 7,500 euros).

Franck’s lawyer Kenneth Mann said he intended to request that he serve his sentence in France.

Franck, relying on a court interpreter from Hebrew to French, showed no visible reaction when the sentence was announced.