An Israeli man was gunned down in the Panamanian capital Thursday night, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.
He was named by Hebrew-language media as Gilad Ben-Shlomo. According to Channel 12 news, it is believed that he was assassinated as part of a settling of scores between criminals in Panama rather than an Israeli hit.
Reports from news outlets in Panama City said two people were shot at the Kennedy Home shopping mall, and that one of them died after arrival at a local hospital.
The Foreign Ministry said embassy staff were working with local authorities to return the body to Israel for burial.
[VÍDEO] Un muerto y herido deja balacera en los predios de un Centro Comercial, cerca a la rotonda a la Vía Israel, con la Vía Brasil. La Policía Nacional se mantiene en el lugar. pic.twitter.com/TF8R2xwzJS
— Tráfico Panamá (@TraficoCPanama) November 1, 2019
Ynet reported that the 32-year-old victim was “well known” to police in Israel, and was linked to the now-jailed crime boss Michael Mor.
The notorious Mor, from Nahariya, was arrested in 2017 for running a crime syndicate in northern Israel for years. He also ran gambling and extortion rackets in Thailand, South Africa and Israel.
Channel 12 reported that Ben-Shlomo was a long-time resident of Panama, and managed a retail store at the mall. The report said he was recently released from a Panamanian jail
The Panama City shooting comes three months after two Israelis linked to the criminal underworld were gunned down in a Mexico City cafe. Reports in Hebrew-language media from July identified one of the men as Ben Suthi, a Tel Aviv crime boss who had completed a lengthy prison sentence in Israel.
Israeli police sources told the Ynet news site in July there was “no doubt” the Mexican attack was “commissioned by those with interests in Israel.” Israeli police reportedly suspect that an Israeli criminal organization paid a local group in Mexico City to carry out the hit.