Aharanovich vows to fight illegal arms, honor killings

On tour of Lod, Public Security Minister says this year alone, 60 grenades, 80 rifles, 4 pistols, 4 RPGs stolen from IDF storehouses.

BORDER POLICE Lod 311 (photo credit: Ben Hartman)
(photo credit: Ben Hartman)
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharanovich on Wednesday said police and the Shin Bet will launch a nationwide campaign to fight the use and possession of illegal firearms in Israel, following backto- back murders in Lod in the span of 48 hours.
Aharanovich said he will focus in particular on the Arab sector, where the use of firearms is by far the most prevalent, and where so-called “honor killings” take place on a regular basis. Aharanovich said such killings include six out of the eight murders so far this year in Lod.
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The minister referred to the phenomenon of honor killings as “difficult, dangerous, and worrisome,” and called on local authorities in the Arab sector to cooperate more with police to fight the problem. He also vowed to fight celebratory gunfire during weddings and holidays and called on the IDF to do its part to ensure that military hardware stops making its way onto the Israeli street.
This year alone, the minister said, 60 grenades, 80 rifles, four pistols, and four RPGs have been stolen from IDF storehouses, including a LAW anti-tank missile found by police in Lod last week.
Aharanovich also spoke of the large-scale police reinforcements sent to Lod following this week’s murders, which included large numbers of Border Policemen. The minister refused to refer to the deployments in Lod as an “operation,” saying that the move was open-ended and no end date has been set.
Aharanovich’s statements came following a tour of Lod and a meeting he held with police district commanders from across Israel.
On Thursday, Prime Minister Benyamin Netanyahu will visit Lod, where he will also meet with law enforcement officials.
Following a threat by Lod Mayor Ilan Hariri to shut down the city if a solution is not found, Aharanovitch deployed a company of Border Policemen in the city Wednesday night. They will be assisted by Shin Bet (Israel Security Services) officials in their efforts to get illegal firearms off the streets of the embattled city.
Across Lod on Wednesday, Border Police set up checkpoints and stopped drivers for questioning.
One patrolman said that his unit had not received any notification of how long it would be deployed, only that “we’d be here for as long as it takes, you never know what can happen.” When asked what they are looking for when stopping drivers, the officer said “it depends, right now it’s just normal people going home from work.
But you know at 1 a.m., 2 a.m., the only reason anyone will be driving around is because they’re looking for drugs or up to something else illegal.”
Lod’s most recent murder occurred late Monday night when 27-year-old Emil Halili was sitting in her car with her eightyear- old daughter at a railroad crossing, when she was shot in the head at pointblank range.
Halili was pronounced dead at the scene, and her daughter was treated at a nearby hospital after being lightly wounded by broken glass.
While police have not made any arrests in the case so far, initial investigations are focusing on the possibility that it was an honor killing, largely do to the fact that Halili had no criminal record whatsoever and because she recently filed a police harassment complaint against a family member. Halili withdrew the complaint the next day.
The day before, local resident Sami Hijazi was shot and killed outside Lod’s City Hall, also while sitting inside his car. Even though Hijazi had no criminal record, police said that the motive for the shooting was criminal.
Lod lies only 15 km. southeast of Tel Aviv, but is a world away in terms of the levels of poverty and crime. For years, Lod and its sister city Ramle have been considered among the roughest corners of Israel.