Illustrative photo of handcuffs.
(photo credit: ING IMAGE/ASAP)
Police arrested 54 Israeli and Palestinians suspected of trafficking weapons, drugs and stolen goods, following a year-long investigation conducted by an undercover agent, the Israeli Police announced Tuesday.
Over the past year a police agent was employed in the struggle against the Palestinian crime scene, during which he discovered five gangs allegedly committing offenses in the areas of stolen property, weapons and drugs trafficking between the West Bank and Israel.
"This was an undercover operation carried out by an agent who gathered evidence for almost a year against suspects involved in illegal weapons and drugs," said Police Foreign Press Spokesman Micky Rosenfeld.
Some 100 Israelis and Palestinians are suspected of having been involved in the criminal activity uncovered during this operation, of which 54 were arrested at the first stage of arrests on Tuesday morning, Rosenfeld told The Jerusalem Post.
As part of the operation, the agent purchased 20 weapons of various kinds, including weapons manufactured in Nablus, M16 rifles, improvised weapons and parts of weapons. The weapons were sold in Israel and police suspect they were used for criminal and terrorist activity. In addition, a number of transactions involved the purchase of tens of thousands of hashish and ecstasy drugs that were allegedly sold in Israel.
Four more weapons were also seized on Tuesday morning.
The agent carried out the operations inside the Palestinian Area A in coordination with the IDF and police units.
The agent brought in evidence of the illegal activities carried out by the suspects that he gathered from both Palestinians and Israelis.
The gangs are suspected of having carried out hundreds of thefts across the country over a long period of time. According to police, the gangs worked as an operational unit, gathering information, carrying out meticulous field preparations and operational planning, and using vehicles and trucks with duplicate license plates to perpetrate burglaries, mainly of businesses.
Speaking at a police ceremony held earlier in the morning, Police Commissioner Roni Alsheich said: "This operation is simply amazing, in its scope, its daring, its results, not least because of the important and effective interfaces between the police, the State Prosecutor's Office and the IDF, shoulder to shoulder in order to truly achieve these achievements. In the end, this activity of ours has achieved in the short term and long term good results and personal security for the citizens of Israel."
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