ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 147

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Bomb-carrying drone used in suspected underworld hit attempt in Netanya

Explosion damages balcony, shatters windows in fourth alleged attempted murder of gang leader Ben Butbika

Michael Horovitz is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel

Smashed windows at the home of crime boss Ben Butbika in the coastal city of Netanya, May 22, 2023. (Twitter screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Smashed windows at the home of crime boss Ben Butbika in the coastal city of Netanya, May 22, 2023. (Twitter screenshot: used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A drone carrying explosives was used in what appeared to be an attempted hit on a well-known crime boss in the coastal city of Netanya Sunday night.

The bomb detonated on a balcony outside the apartment of Ben Butbika and his wife, damaging it and shattering the windows.

The Ynet news site reported Monday that the couple ran to their bomb shelter when they saw the drone hovering outside.

The explosion was heard throughout the city and neighboring communities, according to witnesses who spoke to media outlets.

Police called to the scene found pieces of the drone, and launched an investigation. They said there was no longer any danger to residents in the area.

Butbika, who is feuding with several rival gangs, survived a car explosion last year, a firebombing of his home, and a shooting.

“He was very lucky,” a Netanya resident told Ynet. “It’s luck that he has survived four attempts on his life. This is the first time there was an attempt like this to kill him with a drone. If they invested in explosives and a drone, then the feud is very serious and won’t end until he is eliminated if he stays in the city.”

“How many lives does he have?” another resident said. “He already lost four.”

It is not the first time a drone has been used to try and carry out a hit. In January, police arrested seven suspected of attempting to carry out a similar attack using an explosive drone in Jaffa.

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