Police Bust Jaffa Crime ‘Empire’

Boats docked at the Jaffa Port, near Tel Aviv. (Flash90)

Police early Tuesday raided a complex of homes in Jaffa that they said was a center of organized crime and potential terror activities in central Israel. Police who raided the Abu Sayef complex, a set of homes in an Arab neighborhood of Jaffa, said that they found equipment for the manufacture of weapons, dozens of illegal guns and rifles, and large amounts of illicit substances.

In addition, several Arabs from Palestinian Authority-controlled areas were staying in the house. Police said that the complex had been long known as a “motel” for PA Arabs in Israel illegally. Many of those who were staying at the complex were employed by local criminal organizations, either in illegal sales of illicit substances, as part of a theft ring, or as workers in numerous illegal construction projects. Several arrests were made on the spot, and dozens of warrants were issued for the arrest of other suspects who were not at the site at the time.

The operation was carried out with help from officials from the police, Shin Bet, Israel Lands Authority, the Israel Electric Company, National Insurance Institute, Agriculture Ministry and the Tax Authority — testifying to the extent of the criminal activities carried out at the complex. In a statement, the Justice Ministry said that the operation “is part of ongoing efforts to reign in crime and terror. With the help of all the relevant agencies, we will utilize all tools at our disposal to enforce the law.”