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Who sells fish in the small hours of the night and what is a railway engine driver doing at that shop? This question intrigued officers on patrol from the Nahariya police station last weekend, who discovered to their surprise that a fishmonger's shop in the city led to a hot gambling club.

The policemen's surprise was even greater when they discovered that among the gamblers there were Israel Railways employees, including three engine drivers.

According to the police, on the night between Saturday and Sunday a Nahariya station patrol vehicle in Lohamei Hageta'ot Street in the city, in an area of light industry, garages, offices and a local market, noticed that the door of the local fish store opposite the entrance to the train station was open and there was unexplained presence and activity of people there. The police raided the premises and discovered a passage from the fish store to the building's second story, where a casino is located. The police arrested the casino's operator and detained 10 clients for questioning.

It quickly became apparent that among the clients gambling at the casino were three Israel Railway engine drivers and inspectors who had apparently finished their shifts and had crossed the street to gamble there. The investigation found that the establishment had been operating for several months and anyone who wanted to enter had to pay a fee of NIS 50.

The police confiscated a great deal of evidence, including chips, cards, cash and a list of people in debt to the club. After the investigation the railway employees were released and the casino operator was freed on bail. The police intend to continue proceedings against him, and to file an indictment.

Police sources said the railway employees are not suspected of criminal acts despite the prohibition on gaming and gambling of this sort, but there is no doubt their presence there arouses concern when it comes to individuals who are professionally responsible for travel on public transportation.

"I don't know if an engine driver who spent the night at a gambling club can function properly on his shift afterwards," said a senior officer from the Galilee police headquarters.

Raiding gambling clubs in Nahariya is considered a leading police objective because of extensive club activity in the city in recent years. According to the police, because of the many raids, club managers have begun to operate under cover with the aim of hiding the establishments.

According to Israel Railways, the management has not been informed of details of the investigation, but it is obvious that those employees visited the establishment during their off-duty hours. However, it was made clear that upon the completion of the investigation a decision will be made whether to take any measures against them.