Israelis held for organ sales

2009-11-05 22:30

Jerusalem - Two Israelis have been arrested for running an illegal human organ transplant ring, police said on Thursday.

The two men were accused of mediating between people willing to sell organs and those awaiting transplants, and of arranging to have the operations done abroad, police superintendent Gilad Bahat told public radio.

Two other people have been detained on suspicion they were trying to sell kidneys, he said.

Any trade in organs or payment for donations is illegal in Israel.

Illicit organ trade has become a sensitive subject in Israel since a Swedish journalist alleged in August that Israel was stealing organs from Palestinians killed in violence, a charge Israel vehemently denied.

Bahat said the two main suspects placed advertisements in newspapers to attract people willing to sell organs.

"We are talking about hundreds of thousands of dollars for each incident, with the seller getting tens of thousands of dollars and the rest going to the agents and to cover medical costs," Bahat said.

Police believe 10 operations organised by the suspects were carried out in South America and China.