Approximately 1,200 police officers, some rappelling from choppers, took part in an operation meant to locate and seize illegal drugs and firearms among criminal members of the Bedouin community in the Negev Desert.
The show of force - which focused on the southern city of Be’er Sheva and surrounding villages - is part of the government's six-months plan to combat the spiraling violence among the country's Arab population,
Police said that at least 41 suspects were detained, and that two “Carlo” submachine guns were confiscated alongside over 20 kg of marihuana.
The police added that dozens of greenhouses containing thousands of cannabis plants each were also dismantled.
According to the police, the raid was successful and targeted criminal elements involved in money laundering among other offenses, and that troops confiscated cash and high-prices vehicles.
“[With this operation] ended a lengthy preparatory work which targeted criminals who have posed a danger to public safety in the southern city of Be'er Sheva and the Bedouin sector," the police said in a statement.
Public security Minister Amar Bar-Lev, on his part, said that while he lauded the latest police operation, the war on the rising tide of crime is far from over.
"I will not bask in the success of this operation, as successful as it may be… just as I do not shy away from dealing with the mass brawl between feuding families at the entrance to Soroka Hospital,” said Bar-Lev.
“Our fight to restore security to the residents of the south is long, difficult and will be continuous with quite a few ups and downs. It will take time.”
According to police data, since the onset of operations to eradicate violent crime in the Arab sector, some 225 people have been arrested - of which only 23 were indicted - and no less than 56 illegal firearms found.