Israel Police stopped the third criminal assassination squad in five days in the south on Thursday, in the backdrop of an ongoing blood feud between gangs.
The police had started a campaign to prevent blood feud murders and received a tip about a squad of assassins. SWAT, local, and regional police worked together to track the extermination squad's vehicle as it approached their target near Sderot.
Law enforcement moved in to arrest two men armed with 2 rifles when they were 200 meters away from their target. Two other men were arrested in a getaway car some distance away. They had intended to set the first vehicle on fire to cover their tracks. The suspects were residents of Ashkelon and Sderot.
"This is the third squad of assassins that has been arrested red-handed in only 5 days, thanks to the proactive and determined activity of all the units in the region and the district," said Lachish district commander Doron Aloni.
Aloni said that all the assassins arrested during the week were professionals, well-known members of criminal organizations.
On Wednesday police thwarted an assassination at a private event at a banquet hall in Kiryat Gat. Three men were arrested, along with a vehicle with duplicate license plates and a drone. A getaway car was hidden in nearby bushes.
"The recent changes in the crime map have created new conflicts that have required us to update our operations and prepare in a precise manner against each conflict in order to thwart malicious intent and preserve human life," said Kiryat Gat commander Shlomi Deri.
A manhunt was launched on Sunday after a man in his 30s was seriously injured in an attempted gang assassination in Ashdod. Police and IAF units were dispatched, and the suspects' car was found near Modi'in. Two suspects were found and arrested nearby. A third suspect was arrested later in the day in the center of the country.