Two people were killed early Monday morning when their car exploded in the city of Petah Tikva in the center of the country.

Three passersby were lightly injured.

Police suspected that the incident was the latest in a string of assassinations connected to the criminal underworld. At the same time, they were investigating the possibility that the occupants of the vehicle were transporting an explosive device that detonated accidentally.

The identity of the two victims was not immediately known. The owner of the car, who was not at the scene of the blast, was arrested, Haaretz reported. He told investigators that he had lent his car to a friend.

If the incident is related to organized crime, it would be the latest killing in a recent uptick of violence.

On Saturday, a known mobster was killed in a hit in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon, reportedly over a love affair he had with a woman from a crime family from northern Israel.

Yossi Buhbut, in his 30s, was shot several times in the upper body as he was entering his mother’s apartment building.

To battle the phenomenon, Israel police recently established the Lahav 433 unit — the organized crime-fighting body also known as the “Israeli FBI.”

The Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.