The members of the cell suspected of burning dozens of buses in northern Israel in the past month have been caught, Israel Police stated on Sunday.
Three suspects, residents of the Bedouin town of Tuba Zangariyye, were caught as they were on the way to an additional arson incident. A search of their vehicle uncovered flammable material, torches, observation and burglary tools, headlights, fake license plates and gloves.
An undercover operation by police officers of the Northern District led to the arrest of the three suspects, who allegedly acted on behalf of a criminal organization that extorted “protection” fees from businesses in the north under the guise of a security company.
Following the interrogation of the three suspects, police forces raided a number of targets in Tuba Zangariyye and the Arab city of Sakhnin and arrested another eight people suspected of involvement in the arson incidents.
“We’re working with all means at our disposal against the phenomenon of collecting ‘protection’ funds,” said Northern District Commander Maj.-Gen. Shimon Lavi. “In parallel with our extensive efforts to catch the perpetrators, we have raised the need to initiate changes in legislation that will allow us additional tools to act against the phenomenon.”
A month ago, 18 buses were set on fire in Tzfas and prior to that, eight buses were set on fire in Kiryat Shmona and two in Gush Chalav.
(YWN Israel Desk – Jerusalem)