Police and Border Patrol officers raided homes and chop shops across the West Bank late Tuesday night, on what police said was an unprecedented operation against car thieves based in the Palestinian Authority.
Almost all of the 23 suspects arrested in the raids are from Area A, and were brought to Ofer Military Court for a remand hearing on Wednesday.
Vered Vinikov, spokeswoman for the Lahav 433 branch of the National Israel Police said the operation was the first of its kind – a six month undercover investigation where police deployed an undercover agent to infiltrate the car thieves.
The operation was run by the “Etgar” unit of Lahav 433, which is tasked with tracking down stolen cars and arresting car thieves.
During the raids on Wednesday, officers seized a number of stolen cars, dozens of car engines, firearms, and other various stolen property.
Police said the suspects arrested included a number of senior targets of police investigators.
“Car theft hurts the economy of the state of Israel and the sense of security for its citizens,” Israel Police Chief Yochanan Danino said on Wednesday adding that the operation “will have a dramatic effect on the phenomenon of car theft in the country.”