South African and Israeli police said on Thursday they had arrested a suspected gang boss whom Israel has sought for years for alleged conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder.
The 46-year-old Israeli, who was not named, is linked to a major criminal organisation called Abergil, South African police said in a statement.
On Interpol’s wanted list since 2015, the “fugitive has been arrested together with seven others at a house” in Bryanston, an affluent northern suburb of Johannesburg, it said.
“According to Israeli authorities, the suspect is part of a notorious gang dealing in drug trafficking, extortion and other criminal activities,” it said.
Israeli police later confirmed the arrest saying it was part of a worldwide operation by its intelligence division.
In a statement the Israel police said “a high-ranking criminal who lives in South Africa” was the target.
The arrest came after “many efforts, intelligence, operations and cooperation between the authorities in Israel and abroad,” it said.
The suspect “will be brought to the state authorities for investigation”, it said.
The Israeli media named the suspect as Yaniv Ben Simon.
He allegedly carried out several car bombings, seriously injuring eight people, it said.
South African police shared pictures and videos of the arrest, in which the suspects were seen lying face down, their wrists fastened with cable ties.
It later updated the list of seized firearms to 19, including assault pistols, along with $40,000 in cash, three kilogrammes of suspected crystal meth, four drones and two bulletproof vests.
Two money counting machines, eight cars and six motorcycles, three of which were suspected to have been stolen were also impounded.
The Abergil gang has been linked to two brothers who in 2011 were extradited to the United States to face murder, money-laundering and drug-dealing charges.