Israeli police bust alleged pedophile ring

July 31, 2012 at 7:13 AM

TEL AVIV, Israel, July 31 (UPI) -- About 30 suspected pedophiles were arrested by Israeli police early Tuesday in what was described as the largest undercover operation of its kind.

The suspects, who allegedly belonged to an online ring, were arrested after officers from the police computer crimes unit posed as minors and joined online chat forums to attract the suspects, Israel Radio reported Tuesday.

It took three months to gather evidence against the suspects, Ynetnews.com reported. Police described the operation as "the tip of the iceberg" as to the scope of online pedophilia in Israel, the Web site said.

Police said they were shocked by the ease with which innocent online conversations quickly became perversely sexual, The Jerusalem Post reported. Some of the suspects carried out lewd acts on Web cameras and encouraged children to carry out sexual acts, the Post said.

Some of the suspects are married with young children, others work for security companies and media communications firms, and some are highly educated, the Post said.

Moti Aderi, head of the National Fraud Unit, implored parents "to take an active interest -- and control -- over what their children are doing online and who they come in contact with online. Cyberspace is a dangerous place," Ynetnews.com quoted him as saying.

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