Police arrest dozens in Eilat, Beersheba crime raids
Detectives nab alleged organized crime members in 2 separate raids; suspects wanted in connection with murders, extortion.
Israel police car Photo: Ariel Jerozolimski
Police investigators from the YAHBAL serious and international crimes unit and
investigators from the Tax Authority arrested 30 organized crime suspects in
Eilat on Tuesday.
Further north, investigators from the Negev branch of
the YAMAR central investigative unit arrested 32 suspected mob figures in
Police in Eilat and Beersheba said that the 62 suspects
arrested on Tuesday represent the most senior local crime figures in both
In both Eilat and Beersheba the suspects are wanted in connection
to a litany of serious crimes including murder, extortion, money laundering, and
Beersheba police said the arrests included the head of
the city’s most dominant criminal organization and his top deputy.
police spokesman Ch.- Insp. Lior Ben-Simon said that the men arrested in the
raids ran a criminal organization that dominated underworld activity in the
southern city for many years.
He said that the gang, whose members are
aged from their 20s to 50s, operated with a clear hierarchy and command
structure, and was well known in Eilat.
The crew worked mainly in illegal
gambling in apartments and local businesses Ben- Simon said, but also made money
from extortion and protection rackets.
The investigation was carried out
over the past year and was focused on building enough evidence to prove that the
men were involved in a criminal conspiracy, as part of organized crime. Such
evidence typically means far more severe penalties for those
Ben-Simon wouldn’t give details of the alleged murders, due to
a gag order placed on the case, but in recent years, Eilat has seen a number of
killings connected to the local underworld which remain
According to the Beersheba Magistrate’s Court, the case
involves a series of major crimes, including heading a criminal organization,
attempted murder, money laundering, and extortion. The rest of the men arrested
Tuesday in Beersheba are lieutenants in their organization, the court
The court said the men managed a large loan-sharking business that
took heavy interest on illegal black market loans and used violence against
debtors who didn’t pay on time. In addition, the group extorted money from
individuals and companies across the city, hurling grenades at local businesses
and physically assaulting people on a number of occasions.
All of the
suspects, including the top officers and the lieutenants, had their remands
extended by between eight and 10 days.
Police Commissioner Insp.- Gen.
Yohanan Danino on Tuesday praised the operation, saying it “is part of a long
series of complicated enforcement actions carried out in recent weeks carried
out by YAMAR on the district and national level, which have brought the arrests
of over 100 members of organized crime rings.”
“These were high-quality
determined operations which have dealt a serious blow to criminal organizations,
as part of the Israel police war on these organizations both inside and outside
of the country,” Danino said.