Two people killed early Monday morning when their car exploded in the city of Petah Tikva, in the center of the country, were apparently blown up by their own explosives. Four passersby were lightly injured in the blast.
Police initially suspected that the incident was the latest in a string of assassinations connected to the criminal underworld, but later determined that an explosive device in the possession of the two men in the car likely malfunctioned, causing the blast. Police were trying to determine whether the two had mob affiliations and were on their way to an assassination target.
The owner of the car told investigators that he had lent it to a friend.
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.