The National Commissioner of the Icelandic Police has recently issued permission to the bodyguards of Israel’s Prime Minister’s sons to enter Iceland through Keflavík Airport bearing firearms, Stundin reports.
According to Article 45 of the ‘Regulations on Police’s Handling and Use of Weapons in Iceland’, special permission to bear firearms is only granted by the Commissioner to the security forces of heads of State or of ‘VIP’ individuals who need armed bodyguards because of threats to their own life. It’s unclear what kind of life threats Yair and Avner Netanyahu are expecting to encounter in Iceland.
The two, who are not visiting the country in any official capacity and had therefore not notified the Consul of Israel in Iceland about their trip, arrived yesterday to Keflavík. The National Commissioner of Iceland, however, seemed to be the only public authority to have received the memo.
According to Stundin, the two men have been ensured by the Israeli government a car and personal driver during their trip, as well as personal security forces. Said bodyguards received full permission from the local Commissioner to walk through Keflavík Airport and into the country armed with guns, justifying the decision on the basis of Article 45 of the previously mentioned guidelines, which regulate the use of firearms by foreign authorities.
“The National Commissioner can allow foreign policemen and bodyguards to carry weapons for their job here in the country as long as they work under the control of the police and follow the rules regarding how to carry and use weapons,” reads the article.
It’s worth noting that until last year, only the Icelandic SWAT team was allowed to carry firearms. Last summer, however, former Prime Minister Bjarni Benediktsson announced that sending special forces to “large public gatherings” armed with guns was a part of the government’s new strategy to prevent terrorist attacks in Iceland.
Strict rules now regulate the use of firearms by the police, and Netanyahu’s bodyguards will be required to follow the same guidelines.
Not only will they have to wear a uniform at all times while they’re armed, but they’ll also have to carry their weapons outside of their clothes so they’re clearly visible. Firearms can only be drawn if no other resources are available in the environment and only if absolutely necessary—for instance if there is an immediate life threat or if a third party is thought to be dangerous to the life of others and to the security of the country.
It is still unclear what the two men will be doing in the country and what their schedule looks like.