Police arrest 65 suspects in illegal weapons trafficking

Police say the main arms dealers in the country were apprehended and their arrest was made possible by placing a police agent among them for more than a year.

Arutz Sheva Staff ,

Some of the weapons found
Some of the weapons found
Police Spokesperson

Tonight (Tuesday), Prime Minister Naftali Bennett held a press conference with Minister of Internal Security Amar Bar-Lev and Commissioner of Police Yaakov Shabtai following the extensive police arrest operation aimed at Israeli arms dealers.

"This morning, the Israel Police completed Operation Ocean, an unprecedented operation to seize weapons and ammunition in the Arab sector. This is one of the most sophisticated and daring operations, and I would like to commend the Commissioner, the Minister of Public Works, the District Commander, and all partners in the process," began Bennett.

He added, "We have declared war on lawbreakers in Arab society. We have set up a special unit for the issue in the Israeli police, and we are acting. We do not talk, we do. The road is still long, but the change is already felt on the ground.

"For years, one of the largest illegal weapons depots in the Middle East has been built here, and we have begun to dismantle it. I want to say to the Arab citizens of Israel - you deserve personal security. Therefore, we are here, working and continuing to operate."

"And to the lawbreakers in Arab society, who terrorize both Arabs and Jews - we will not give up, we will not give up. We see you, and we will persecute you to the last weapon to the last criminals who terrorize public order. We will hold you accountable, we "We will prosecute you and you will pay. Operation Ocean has been completed successfully. From here we turn to the next operation, and to those that follow," Bennett said.

Police tonight arrested 65 suspects in trafficking in weapons, ammunition and explosive devices, in what is defined by the police as the largest arrest operation of arms dealers since the establishment of the state.

Police say the main arms dealers in the country were apprehended and their arrest was made possible by placing a police agent among them for more than a year.

The agent is a criminal who previously sat in jail and worked undercover at one of the criminal organizations involved in the arms trade. Over the past year, he has purchased from arms dealers in the Arab sector 40 rifles, 13 pistols, two machine guns, two ready-to-use explosive devices and a lot of ammunition - in 48 deals for a total of about four million shekels. To illustrate, a mag rifle alone cost the police about NIS 180,000.

Tonight, about 1,600 police officers raided 25 localities in the north and center of the country and arrested the suspects. In total, the agent indicted 78 traders in his activities and 13 of them are expected to be arrested soon.

The police estimate that most of the weapons were smuggled into Israel from the territories and even outside the country's borders, from Jordan and Lebanon and the rest were stolen from IDF bases.

The Northern District Police Chief, Superintendent Shimon Lavie, said: "We are fighting violence and crime in Arab society by all means, and beyond criminal activity we are also attacking them economically, licensing, health and sanitation - in cooperation with all law enforcement agencies in the country."

"This is a real war on the daily lives of all citizens of the country and their personal security. This is a war against criminal intrusion into local authorities, trying and succeeding in getting hold of public funds. This is a war against extortion of private sector business owners. There are organizations here trying to take a significant part of the economic activity in the country away, public and private. It amounts to huge sums of money and if we do not continue to eliminate them, they will grow stronger. The crime must not pay off - and we must continue to act more forcefully and increase the pressure on criminals," Lavi said.



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