(photo credit: IDF)
Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen has ordered the northern and central police districts to launch a crackdown on illegal firearms possession on Sunday.
The move comes after Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch said last month that the goal of tackling firearms availability in the Arab-Israeli community would form a central plank of his policy in 2010.
"In recent years, the phenomenon of illegal firearms possession and use has grown," police said in a statement on Sunday.
"This can be seen in weddings and other celebratory events in the Arab community. Arab community heads have condemned these uses of firearms," police added.
The illegal firearms were also increasingly being used in terror acts and criminal incidents, police said.
"Police expect cooperation on the part of the public in order to minimize illegal firearms," the statement continued.
Specialized units have begun training before being ordered to implement the crackdown, which will take place in the coming months.
In 2009, 480 handguns, 120 rifles and 82 submachine guns were seized in various arms raids. Some 76,000 rounds of ammunition, 58 grenades, and 158 pipe bombs were also recovered by police.
The raids turned up 10 mortar shells and three LAW shoulder-launched missiles.