Crime boss arrested over murder of state witness’s ex-wife
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Crime boss arrested over murder of state witness’s ex-wife

Police haul in Yaniv Zaguri and another suspect in connection with 2016 slaying of Devorah Hirsch, who was gunned down as she sat in a car with her 3 children

Devorah Hirsch, who was shot dead in her car in 2016, in an undated photo (Facebook)
Devorah Hirsch, who was shot dead in her car in 2016, in an undated photo (Facebook)

Police arrested two suspects Monday, one of them Yaniv Zaguri, the head of a major crime organization, over their alleged involvement in the 2016 murder of the ex-wife of a state’s witness, shot as she sat in a car with her three children.

The development in the murder investigation of Devorah Hirsch came after seven other suspects were arrested in the case last week.

The identity of the other suspect was banned from publication under a gag order. Police were considering bringing the suspects for a remand hearing to extend their arrests.

Hirsch was once married to Tal Korkus, a former organized crime figure who turned state’s witness against his own organization. Korkus was himself killed in a suspected criminal underworld bombing of his car in 2017.

Uri Ben Natan, attorney for the arrested crime boss, said in a statement: “My client denies the suspicions against him. He has no part in what happened.”

Ben Natan noted that on the day of Hirsch’s murder his client was questioned by police but not arrested. Six suspects were arrested at the time but all were later released for lack of evidence.

Hirsch, 30 at the time of her death, was killed in front of her three young children on Beersheba’s Jerusalem Boulevard on March 7, 2016. She was taken to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center in critical condition in the minutes following the shooting, but died of her wounds in the hospital.

Last week’s arrests in the case came after a police undercover operation.

Korkus was allegedly right-hand man to Zaguri, a major underworld figure from the south of Israel, before he became state’s witness against his former boss. He was killed when a bomb exploded under his car in Ashkelon. Zaguri is suspected of ordering the gangland hit, while Michael Mor, another underworld figure, allegedly provided the explosive device.

During 2015 police made a series of arrests involving dozens of members of crime organizations across the country, in what was described as one of the biggest crackdowns on organized crime in Israeli history.

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