(photo credit: Israel Police)
Police on Thursday announced the arrest of nearly three dozen illegal firearms dealers during raids in Arab villages throughout the Western Galilee Wednesday night.
Police said the raids followed a long-term operation in which an undercover agent earned the trust of a number of weapons dealers in the Galilee and allegedly purchased dozens of illegal firearms, including pistols, submachine guns, grenades and explosives.
The 34 suspects arrested included 11 members of a single family from Kfar Kabul. All 34 were brought before the Acre Magistrate’s Court on Thursday, where their remand was extended by six days.
Police said the undercover agent paid NIS 12,000-17,000 for each firearm, which were often purchased in public places and tested in built-up areas. Ballistics tests have determined that some of the weapons were used in violent crimes in Israel, police added.
Police said initial examinations of the firearms indicate that a large portion of the weapons were stolen in Lebanon, Egypt and Jordan and smuggled into Israel. The rest were stolen from houses during burglaries in Israel. Police said that because of the makes and models of the firearms, they do not believe they were stolen from IDF bases.
In recent months, police have stepped up efforts to crack down on firearms crime, a move police say has led to a 50-percent drop in gun-related crime in the Carmiel police station’s jurisdiction alone.
The Galilee has in recent months been the epicenter of police efforts to fight illegal firearms. Earlier in April, police announced that approximately 1,200 illegal firearms have been seized in the Galilee in recent months.
Galilee District Commander Menahem Haver said Thursday, “We in the
Galilee district are working on all fronts in order to deal with the
widening phenomenon [of illegal firearm use] and are achieving great
“All the units of the northern police are working together to fight
this phenomenon. Firearms in the hands of criminals are later used in
shootings involving innocent civilians or as a means to intimidate law
enforcement and public officials. The responsibility is in our hands to
break this chain and bring the offenders to justice.”
Also Thursday, the Sharon District Police announced the seizure of
several firearms, including an AK-47, an UZI and a Carl Gustov assault
rifle during a raid on a home in Kfar Qassem. During the raid, police
arrested two local residents, aged 20 and 30.
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