Police raided dozens of homes in Arab towns across northern Israel, arresting 15 people and seizing guns and cash, as part of efforts to crack down on surging violent crime in Arab Israeli communities, officials said Friday.
The operation came hours after a shooting in Haifa claimed the 76th victim of violent crime from the community thus far this year, amid accusations of police and government inaction to stanch the wave of violence.
Officers raided 63 homes in Arab and Druze towns across the north, arresting 15 suspects on suspicion of violence, extortion and money laundering. None of the suspects were named.
Police announced they seized large sums of money, without specifying how much. The statement said NIS 50,000 ($15,620) was found hidden in the bra of a suspect’s wife.
Cops also captured weapons and military equipment, according to the statement.
Police described the arrests as part of efforts to fight organized crime among Arab Israelis.
The raids came as authorities vow to devote more resources to battling crime in Arab locales, after a series of recent shootings trigged the online #Arab_Lives_Matter campaign to protest the alleged lack of police action.
Violent crime has risen to record levels in Arab communities in recent years, with 76 Arab Israeli citizens killed in homicides since 2021 began. Last year, 96 Arab Israelis were killed in communal violence, the highest annual toll in recent memory.