Drugs, guns, stolen cars, stolen animals and a helicopter

Watch: Police launch massive wave of raids, netting some 500 illegal Arab workers, guns, drugs, meat, and vehicles.

David Rosenberg,

Israeli police officers in Jerusalem
Israeli police officers in Jerusalem
Yonatan Sindel/Flash90

Israeli authorities nabbed hundreds of suspects and shut down illegal operations around the country on Monday, in a series of raids dubbed “Operation Biur Hametz”, referring to the tradition of removing all leavened bread, observed ahead of the upcoming Passover festival.

According to a police spokesperson, more than 2,300 officers and volunteers with the Israel Police and the Border Police took part in the raids, which had been planned in recent weeks past of a massive crackdown on a wide-range of illegal activity in Israel, primarily in the Arab sector.

The raids, which were aided by airborne observation units, netted a total of 583 suspects.

Of the 583 people arrested, 468 were Palestinian Authority residents found to be working or residing illegally in Israel.

Seventeen other suspects were arrested for providing the illegal residents with housing, along with 8 people arrested for employing them, and 24 more suspects who transported them into Israel.

In addition, 14 suspected terrorists were arrested.

Some 12,000 eggs which had been falsely marked as being approved by Israeli authorities and which smugglers had planned to bring into pre-1967 Israel from Samaria were seized, as were some 100 unmarked sheep and goats, which are believed to have been stolen from Israeli shepherds.

Authorities also shut down three “chop-shops” – facilities used to dismantle stolen vehicles for parts or reassembly – in Judea and Samaria, and seized four stolen cars, 12 stolen motorcycles, and a portable generator.

Police even found an unlicensed helicopter in Qalandiya, outside of Jerusalem, which was also seized.

Large quantities of illegal drugs were also found and seized.

Unlicensed slaughterhouses were also targeted during the raids, with roughly half a ton of meat confiscated at two different facilities. The sanitary conditions at the two illegal slaughterhouses were well below Israeli health ministry standards, and the smuggling of the meat into the Israeli market could have posed a threat to public health.

In a weapons lab in the Arab village of Anata, just outside of the Jerusalem neighborhood of Pisgat Zeev, authorities found dozens of illegal guns, along with firearm parts and equipment for the manufacturing of firearms.




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