Israel Police arrested 20 suspects throughout Israel on Sunday after a months-long undercover operation in the weapons and drug trafficking trade.
The agent, who operated for five months largely in Arab-Israeli communities, purchased three pistols, four M-16 rifles, an Uzi and Carl Gustav submachine guns, as well as hashish, cocaine, and ecstasy, during the course of the operation.
Police also confiscated NIS 100,000 and vehicles that were allegedly used in trafficking.
Early Sunday morning some 160 police officers conducted raids and arrests in Kfar Kana, Beit Zarzir, Nazareth, Kaabiya, Zalafa and Ashkelon.
The suspects will appear before the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court on Sunday where police are seeking to extend their remands.
“The undercover agent activity is part of an ongoing and uncompromising struggle against the phenomenon of the use and possession of weapons and drugs. This phenomenon harms the basic and personal security of the normal citizen,” The Northern District Police said in a statement.
Police said they are continuing to combat “the phenomenon of illegal weapons” in Arab-Israeli communities.
“To date, this struggle has led to the exposure and the establishment of evidence against hundreds of influential criminals and their removal from the street and damaging the economic infrastructure that facilitates their criminal activity.”
Arab-Israeli community leaders and Knesset members have consistently criticized the police for heavy-handedness and failing to properly police Arab communities in Israel.
After a string of murders of women in Arab-Israeli communities earlier this month MK Aida Touma-Sliman (Joint List), who chairs the Knesset Committee on the Status of Women and Gender Equality, accused Israeli authorities of allowing violence to go unpunished.
“When there is a recurrence of murders and a lack of exposure of the murderers, like in Rameh and Lod, anyone can feel that he will not pay a price if he murders,” she said.