Hundreds of weapons illegally held by Israeli civilians were seized by the Israel Police southern division in a large-scale operation dubbed “Law and Order” that concluded Thursday.
The police uncovered 260 weapons, primarily handguns and rifles, and thousands of bullets — some of which date back to the British Mandate era.
While police have periodically confiscated unlawfully held weapons, this is the first comprehensive operation to track the illegal firearms. Hundreds of police, Border Police, volunteers, and military dog handlers, participated in the operation.
“The purpose of the operation was to eliminate the dangerous trend of civilians holding weapons illegally,” Commander Yoram Halevy explained. “[We found] a huge number of weapons of various types that could have reached criminals and been used for criminal or terror activity. It also assisted and served the many citizens that needlessly held weapons, some of which have been passed from generation to generation within families.”
One octogenarian voluntarily turned in a weapon from the 1956 Suez Crisis, Ynet reported. The vast majority of the firearms were unlicensed, but not necessarily procured illegally. In one case, a widow kept her late husband’s rifle after his death, fearing that intruders would break into her home.