Blast hits one of Israel’s most upscale streets, in suspected organized crime signal

Bomb targets Herzliya Pituah home of relative of businessman, once probed for fraud, a day after grenade thrown at home of trader’s parents in Ramat Gan; no injuries in incidents

Stuart Winer is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel.

Illustrative: A police vehicle at a crime scene in Netanya, October 14, 2018. (Flash90)
Illustrative: A police vehicle at a crime scene in Netanya, October 14, 2018. (Flash90)

An explosion rocked one of Israel’s most upscale streets on Wednesday evening, in what was the second incident within a day seemingly targeting family members of a business figure who has ties to the criminal underworld.

The blast happened on Galei Tchelet Street in the affluent Herzliya Pituah neighborhood of the central city of Herzliya. Many foreign ambassadors and leading business figures live on the street.

The Israel Police said it had received a report of an explosion and opened an investigation into the incident, which it believes is connected to organized crime groups.

The house where the explosion happened is reportedly that of the brother-in-law of the business figure, who is involved in the stock market. The businessman, who was not named in Hebrew media reports, was in the past investigated on suspicion of fraud and money laundering but was never charged. He is believed to have close ties to crime boss Eran Haya who is in a feud with the Musli brothers crime family, the Walla news site reported.

Overnight Tuesday-Wednesday, a grenade was thrown at the building where the parents of the businessman live on Neveh Yehoshua Street in Ramat Gan. Police said there were no injuries but that doors in the building were damaged. The grenade attack was also suspected as an incident of organized crime, police said in a statement.

The businessman is currently abroad, according to media reports.

Channel 12 news cited a police source Wednesday as saying: “We will look into the suspicion that criminals wanted to send a message to the businessman who is in their sights.”

According to the network, overnight Monday-Tuesday there was a loud explosion on a street in the Yad Eliyahu neighborhood of Tel Aviv where a crime figure tied to the Musli brothers lives.

A police source told the network that the force was checking to see if there was a connection between the explosion in Tel Aviv and the grenade the following day in Ramat Gan.

No suspects have been arrested.

Three months ago, the police found a car rigged with a bomb on Galei Tchelet Street that appeared primed to target the same businessman. Also in September, a hand grenade was thrown on the same street.

Shortly after the Herzliya explosion Wednesday, police said they had received a report of another blast in Ramat Gan, at a residential building on Yad Shalom Street. Police sappers who arrived searched the premises and found a “suspicious package” that bomb squad teams dealt with.

There were no injuries in that incident. Police did not provide more details on the nature of the suspicious package.

Neither police nor Hebrew media said if the second Ramat Gan blast was connected to the earlier incidents.

A wave of killings linked to the criminal underworld has killed over 200 people this year, mostly from the Arab community in which homicides this year have been more than double the number for last year.

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