Minister of Public Security Yitzhak Aharonovitch announced Saturday that the boss of a major Israeli crime organization was arrested along with six of his men, two days after the latest mob-related assassination attempt struck Tel Aviv.
Aharonovitch said that police unit Lahav 433 — a special unit created specifically to combat organized crime, also known as the “Israeli FBI” — made the arrests Saturday.
Channel 2 reported that the mob boss in question was Shalom Domrani, whose crime ring operates mainly in the south.
Domrani and his men were arrested on suspicion of extortion, according to the report, and of trying to influence municipal elections in the city of Netivot.
Aharonovitch spoke about police efforts to fight organized crime, revealing that he and his family have been living under threat from mob figures for the past four years.
During an interview on Channel 2 Saturday, the minister said that over 100 law enforcement officials in Israel were also living under that threat.
“We are waging a war [against organized crime] and it won’t end in a day or a month,” he said.
Aharonovitch said that police already have “400 figures from the criminal underworld” behind bars and promised that the heads of all major crime organizations would follow suit.
“I’ve been very clear, we must be given the tools. This is terrorism in every sense and we will fight it,” he promised.
The arrests came two days after an attempt on the life of a state attorney in Tel Aviv on Thursday, in yet another incident believed to be linked to organized crime.
No one was hurt in the explosion. It was unclear if Domrani has been linked to that attack.
According to police, the car belonged to a senior member of the state prosecution who led the cases against major crime organizations and was considered an aggressive prosecutor.
He had reportedly prosecuted five senior members of the crime organization headed by Amir Mulner, successfully appealing rulings for their release. He was involved in further investigations targeting the organization.
Following the incident, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “This is a very grave incident. It is a threat to the rule of law. We have to give top priority to the investigation into this incident and to exhaust all means to bring the perpetrators to justice.”
The explosion in Tel Aviv came after a series of shootings and explosions perpetrated in recent weeks by criminal organizations in several major Israeli cities, including two incidents in Ashkelon in just two weeks.
The latest incident took place not far from an assassination attempt against a suspected crime boss in January, when a motorcyclist pulled up to Nissim Alperon’s vehicle in northern Tel Aviv and threw an explosive device at the car. Alperon escaped the attack unharmed.
Last month, a powerful car bomb exploded in the southern city of Ashkelon in what police said was an assassination attempt by a criminal organization against a rival group. One person was killed and another severely wounded in the explosion.
The two victims, police said, were senior members of the Domrani crime family, and authorities feared that a spate of revenge killings in response to the bombing would occur.