Mob boss said arrested in large gangland sweep
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Mob boss said arrested in large gangland sweep

Shalom Domrani among nearly 30 suspects rounded up as police raid southern crime ring accused of murder, other crimes

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

Shalom Domrani seen in a Rishon Letzion court in August, 2011. (Gideon Markowicz/FLASH90)
Shalom Domrani seen in a Rishon Letzion court in August, 2011. (Gideon Markowicz/FLASH90)

Police arrested dozens of underworld figures, including an alleged major crime boss and several other key suspects from murder cases, in a sweeping raid late Monday and early Tuesday.

Shalom Domrani was reportedly among 29 people from a number of criminal gangs arrested in the operation carried out by some 150 police officers in the south of the country.

Domrani, said to be a well-known crime kingpin in the south, was apprehended as he drove in his car near his home, according to Hebrew-language media outlets. He reportedly resisted the arrest, as did those accompanying him at the time.

Another major crime boss, associated with Domrani, was also arrested while on vacation in Eilat, the Hebrew-language Ynet website reported.

Domrani’s attorney Roi Attias accused the police of a witch hunt against his client.

“The attempt to attribute to Domrani every criminal act in the south is outrageous,” he told Ynet. “He doesn’t even know the names of most of the detainees, who according to the [media] reports were nothing less than his henchmen. As usual, this operation is an police dog and pony show, the outcome of which is already known.”

Domrani was previously embroiled in a 2013 extortion case in which a popular rabbi Yoram Abergel allegedly asked Domrani to extort and threaten supporters of southern city Netivot mayoral candidate Eyal Mesika.

The arrests followed information gleaned from an undercover operation of the past few months dubbed Case 8035.

Bomb squad police unit examine the blackened remains of a car that exploded in a suspected bombing in the southern city of Ashkelon, Saturday night, November 2, 2013. (photo credit: David Buimovitch/Flash90)
Bomb squad police unit examine the blackened remains of a car that exploded in a suspected bombing in the southern city of Ashkelon, Saturday night, November 2, 2013. (photo credit: David Buimovitch/Flash90)

Police believe the suspects were behind several murders and attempted murders — including car bombings — in the port city of Ashkelon in the past few years as well as engaging in money laundering and arms dealing.

Dozens of those arrested were to appear before the Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court later on Tuesday for arraignment hearings.

The arrests were the latest in a police crackdown on organized crime.

Earlier this year saw the launch of a massive, ongoing underworld bust described as one of the largest underworld busts in Israel’s history, encompassed some 40 individual investigations into crimes committed over the past 12 years by some 50 suspects.

Israeli officials have vowed in recent years to step up operations against organized crime as a string of car bombings linked to crime syndicates rocked Israeli cities.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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