(Adi Gefen/TPS)
Israeli police

“Operations and activities that are taking place in these very moments will ripen into very severe blows to gangs and criminal organizations in Arab society,” said Minister of Internal Security Amir Ohana.

By Aryeh Savir, TPS

Police forces raided several locations in central Israel early Monday morning and arrested 40 Arabs suspected of illegal weapons trafficking

Following an undercover investigation conducted in recent months by the Sharon area’s criminal warfare unit, titled Operation Blacklist, the overt phase began with tens of police officers, detectives, and border policemen raiding the homes of dozens of suspected traffickers in the cities of Ramala, Lod, and other nearby Arab towns. Arrests were made while conducting an extensive search operation.

As part of the covert and lengthy investigation, an evidentiary basis was formed against 40 suspects in trafficking and use of weapons, including assault rifles, handguns, grenades, and ammunition.

Minister of Internal Security Amir Ohana, who was briefed on the operation, stated that the main challenge facing the police is “crime in Arab society: murder, violence, weapons, and ammunition. To this end, the Israel Police devotes most of its resources and capabilities, with the understanding that success focused on this level will lead to a significant reduction in crime.”

“Operations and activities that are taking place in these very moments will ripen into very severe blows to gangs and criminal organizations in Arab society,” he added.

Operation Blacklist’s objective is “to turn off the tap, and not just try to empty the pool with a spoon. Treatment of weapons dealers and not just weapon holders, and such are the vast majority of the dozens of detainees against whom the evidence has already been collected and compiled,” he explained.

Police Commissioner Yaakov Shabtai said that the operation “is part of a national effort by the Israel Police in the fight against violence in the Arab society, and it will continue from the criminal on the street to the criminal organizations.”

All the detainees were interrogated and were brought to the Magistrate’s Court in Rishon LeZion. for a hearing on their remand.

Arab-Israeli society is plagued with daily incidents of violence. Over 100 Arabs were killed in criminal violence in 2020 and at least 35 so far in 2021.

The police increased its activity against the uptick in shootings and weapons offenses in recent years. In 2020 they arrested 5,713 suspects in shootings and other weapons crimes throughout the country, an increase of 22% compared to 2019.

Approximately 85% of the indictments filed in Israel in 2020 for shooting, illegal possession of weapons, trafficking, and illegal use of weapons have been filed against suspects from the Arab society.