A car exploded next to a bus in central Tel Aviv Thursday afternoon, in what appeared to be a mob hit against an oft-targeted mob boss.
Officials from the Magen David Adom rescue service said at least seven people were lightly injured in the blast; however, others reported the number of injuries to be as low as four.
Police arrested two men later in the afternoon on suspicion of involvement in the bombing, Walla news reported.
Early reports indicated that the explosion was an assassination attempt on Nissim Alperon.
Alperon, a member of a prominent crime family, escaped with only scratches, Channel 2 reported. Eyewitnesses said he left the scene before police arrived, according to the Ynet news website.
“I am perfectly all right, no one is looking for me,” he told Walla news.
Earlier in the day his attorney, Moshe Yohai, told the news site that “Alperon left the crime world long ago, and we are not aware of enemies trying to harm him.”
Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said he couldn’t confirm Israeli media reports that the target was Alperon.
The attack took place at 1 p.m. near Defense Ministry headquarters on Menachem Begin Road.
The bus was empty besides the driver, leading to the low injury count.
According to Channel 2, a motorcyclist attached a charge to a Mazda before it exploded. Police arrested a motorcyclist a short time after the blast following a chase.
In June, Alperon escaped a similar hit attempt, exiting his jeep moments before it exploded outside his Ramat Gan home.
Alperon has survived seven other assassination attempts on his life since 2000, Israel Radio reported. He has been arrested for involvement in a range of crimes.
Violence levels related to underworld activities in Israel have increased in recent years.
Nissim’s brother, underworld kingpin Ya’akov Alperon, was killed in 2008 when his car drove over a bomb in north Tel Aviv.
The explosion took place just a few blocks from the scene of a terror attack in mid-November. In that case, a terrorist left a bomb on a bus, injuring over 20 people.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.