Israel Antiquities Authority supervisors and Border Police offices on Tuesday night arrested a ring of antiquities thieves who were digging illegally in the Lower Galilee.
The ring was caught in a cave in the Beit Keshet Forest.
Authorities noticed three suspects digging a cave near the Khirbet Devorah archaeological site. They then ambushed and arrested the suspects, catching two of them digging in a pit and the third sifting dirt and keeping watch.
Authorities also confiscated digging tools the group had used.
The three suspects, all in their fifties and residents of the northern Arab village of Daburiyya, were arrested and questioned. The findings of the interrogation will be transferred to the Israel Antiquities Authority attorney for the purpose of filing an indictment.
According to Israel Antiquities Authority Robbery Prevention Department Head Nir Distelfeld, "From previous observations, we know this is not the first time these suspects have visited the place and illegally dug for antiquities. We have recently seen an uptick in the number of people digging illegally in the Daburiyya area, and they have caused much damage to the historical sites in question."
"It's important to emphasize that the chance of finding valuable antiquities at the site is practically zero. However, the damage done to our collective history is irreversible.
"Anyone who is caught will be severely punished," he concluded.