Cops nab 14 suspects in raid targeting protection racket in north

Police say raid comes after undercover probe into alleged torching of truck to force business owners to pay up; Ben Gvir touts process to ‘restore governance and security’

A suspect arrested in a raid targeting a protection racket in northern Israel, May 22, 2023. (Israel Police)
A suspect arrested in a raid targeting a protection racket in northern Israel, May 22, 2023. (Israel Police)

Police arrested 14 suspects during a raid in northern Israel on Monday, as part of the fight against protection rackets.

The raids were launched following an undercover investigation into the suspected torching of a truck in the northern moshav of Tefahot to force business owners to pay protection money to a criminal gang, police said.

Police arrested 10 suspects in the northern Bedouin town of Tuba-Zangariyye, while four others were detained from Rumat al-Heib, Dovev, Alma, and Gush Halav on arson and extortion suspicions.

During the raid, law enforcement seized equipment they said will be used as evidence.

The suspects are set to appear at the Nazareth Magistrate’s Court where police will request to extend their custody.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir said he was on the scene before police launched their raid, and tweeted on Monday morning: “This is the beginning of a process to restore governance and personal security.”

The Otzma Yehudit leader campaigned as tough on crime but has been largely mum on soaring violence in recent months.

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