(photo credit: )
When criminals in Nahariya threw grenades overnight Tuesday at the house of Nahariya mayor Jacky Sabag and a local detective they unwittingly gained an additional enemy that they may not have bargained for in the person of Internal Security Minister Avi Dichter. The former Shin Bet head has been speaking out strongly against use of weapons by organized crime syndicates, and especially their use to intimidate local public servants, and this latest attack spurred the minister into action, as he sped up to the northern town for a series of meetings related to the incident.
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Early Tuesday morning, two stun grenades were thrown towards Sabag's house, and a third grenade was thrown at the house of a local police detective. No one was injured in the two attacks, but the explosions - not the first such incident in the seaside resort - set into action a series of top-level meetings with local and national law enforcement officials.
A district-level situation assessment was held soon after the attack, with the discussion led by Northern District Police Chief Cmdr. Dan Ronen. Within a few hours, even as police were still trying to find evidence linking the two attacks, Dichter announced that he would be visiting the scenes of the attacks. Among the stops in Nahariya, Dichter met with the detective whose house was also targeted by the attackers, offering him his assistance in any way possible.
Exactly one week ago, Dichter presided over a ministerial meeting to discuss the use of explosives for criminal activity, the first of a series of such meetings that he pledged to conduct following last month's mafia-related bombing in Rishon Leziyon. Following the first meeting, the Internal Security Ministry promised that further meetings would be held on the subject. According to ministry officials, in future meetings, ministry and police representatives will discuss topics including proposals for new legislation and cataloging the resources that the police currently lack for combating organized crime.
During Dichter's visit to Nahariya, he met with Ronen, Sabag and Northern District Central Investigative Unit Commander Asst.-Cmdr. Menahem Hever, who is the lead detective in the investigation into the attacks. Dichter received an overview of the investigation into the attack as well as of recent related incidents in the north, including the theft 14 days ago of a large and varied stock of weapons including anti-tank rockets and the same type of grenades used in Tuesday's attacks were stolen from an IDF base at a western Galilee community not far from Nahariyya. n addition to large quantities of rifles and ammunition, thieves also made off with over 150 fragmentation grenades and 11 LAW missiles. After that theft, Dichter called on the IDF to tighten regulations for weapons storage, emphasizing that the weapons stolen could be used for either criminal or terror-related purposes.
Dichter said Tuesday that the use of intelligence information in the police struggle against violence by organized crime and the use of weapons are both among the top budgetary priorities in the ministry. Dichter promised that he would work to find solutions within the existing annual budget as well as in future budgets to reinforce police ability to combat the phenomenon, adding that police will find both a professional and an operational way to do so, and will invest the best resources and techniques in the struggle.
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