Israel's crime wars

Crime bosses arrested on suspicion of killing state witnesses

Yaniv Zaguri and Michael Mor reportedly to be indicted Monday for involvement in murders of Tal Korkus and Elisha Sabah

Suspected crime boss Michael Mor, seen in the Nazareth Magistrate court, on September 24, 2017. (Basel Awidat/FLASH90)
Suspected crime boss Michael Mor, seen in the Nazareth Magistrate court, on September 24, 2017. (Basel Awidat/FLASH90)

Police revealed Sunday that the alleged heads of two major criminal organizations were arrested in recent months on suspicion of ordering the murders of two state witnesses earlier this year.

State protectors were expected to file an indictment against purported crime bosses Yaniv Zaguri and Michael Mor on Monday.

A total of eight people have been arrested in connection to the murders of Tal Korkus and Elisha Sabah, according to Hebrew media reports Sunday.

Zaguri is a reported major underworld figure from the south of Israel, and Mor is suspected of heading a criminal gang based in the northern city of Nahariya. Police said there are three state witnesses, two of whom are women, who are prepared to testify against them, according to reports Sunday.

Korkus was allegedly Zaguri’s right hand man before turning state 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 Mor allegedly provided the explosive device.

Sabah testified against Adam Itel, another suspected member of Zaguri’s organization.

After a long police investigation, including the involvement of law enforcement agencies abroad, Zaguri was recently arrested in China, where he resided for the year since his release from serving a seven-year prison sentence in Israel for other crimes, including extortion and arson, according to the the Ynet news website. He was extradited to Israel. The report did not say when the extradition of arrest happened.

Cops also said that two of the suspects were arrested in Thailand.

“Their goal was to create a situation where nobody would want to testify against them because they would settle with them alongside establishing their status in the criminal world,” police said, according to Ynet.

Police are still investigating the murder of Devorah Hirsch, Korkus’s ex-wife, who was killed shortly before Zaguri left for China.

Mor has been in jail since September, when he was detained in a massive operation involving over 250 cops and special forces, along with dozens of alleged members of his crime gang.

In searches following the arrests, police seized 13 weapons, NIS 200,000 ($56,000) in cash, and vehicles and drugs, including cocaine and marijuana, police said.

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