Two people were seriously injured in a car bombing in the northern city of Haifa on Friday, police said, in what appeared to be gang-related violence.
A 33-year-old man and his 35-year-old girlfriend were taken to the city’s Rambam Medical Center after an explosive device blew up their car as they drove down Haifa’s busy Hanasi Street just before 1 p.m.
Eyewitnesses said the massive explosion could be heard from several blocks away. Video showed the vehicle erupting in a large orange fireball.
Police have opened an investigation into the blast, but investigators believe it is mob-related and not a terror attack.
According to reports in Hebrew-language media, the male victim is known to police, and was the target of a car bombing in Eilat last month. His most recent criminal conviction, linked to a stabbing in a Haifa nightclub, came earlier this year.
Drive-by shootings and car bombs as part of underworld gang wars have long wracked Israeli cities, with law enforcement authorities struggling to stem the phenomenon.