A protracted surveillance operation led to the capture of three suspects who were caught red handed robbing an ancient grave near Kibbutz Metzer.
Inspectors for the Unit for Prevention of Theft in the Antiquities Authority caught the suspects inside a burial cave dating from the 1st century CE.
The suspects are Arabs from the town of Baka el Gharbiya and the village of Zamer. They were in possession of numerous digging tools.
"Regretfully, heavy damage was caused to the cave and the archeological find," said Nir Distelfeld, of the Unit for Prevention of Theft in the Antiquities Authority. "Damage to archeological sites is like the erasing of complete pages from the cultural history of the nation and the land, and unfortunately, for the sake of greed and dreams of getting rich, many criminals thoughtlessly destroy the land's history and cultural assets."
The suspects were arrested by inspectors for the Antiquities Authority and were taken to interrogation in the Eeron police station, pending the completion of a charge sheet against them.
The Antiquities Authority hopes that the capture of the thieves will end a recent spate of robberies of antiquities at sites near Baka el Gharbiya.