Tel Aviv police detained four men for questioning on Saturday night in connection with the killing earlier in the day of Taher Lalah, 27, a Jaffa man who was known to have criminal associations.

The four were not under arrest, and police did not say whether they were suspects in the killing.

Lalah was shot to death near the bustling Tel Aviv beachfront in what police believe was an underworld hit.

Masked gunmen opened fire on his silver BMW near HaTachana, a popular tourist destination sporting cafes and shops.

He was killed instantly, and the suspects fled the scene.

Yehuda Dahan, the local police commander, said the killing was “a deliberate hit.”

There were other passengers in the car at the time of the shooting, but they were unhurt.

A large contingent of police and security officers, as well as members of the victim’s family, arrived at the scene.

Taher Lalah (photo credit: Channel 10 screenshot)

Taher Lalah (photo credit: Channel 10 screenshot)

Police have been working under the assessment that the killing was part of an ongoing conflict between rival gangs in Jaffa.

The assassination comes amid a recent spike in the rate and brutality of underworld killings on Israel’s streets.

A man was killed in a car explosion in south Tel Aviv last weekend in what police believe was a vendetta between rival crime rings.

About a month ago, another man was shot point-blank on a busy Jaffa street by two motorcyclists in an attack that was also believed to be related to organized crime.

Last week, police chief Yohanan Danino addressed the phenomenon, acknowledging that mob attacks in the midst of bustling cities were crippling to citizens’ sense of security, and saying he considered them to be a form of “terrorism.”