Police chief calls mob bomb hits ‘terrorism’

Danino says underworld blasts are a growing concern; 11 attacks in past year remain unsolved

Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino (photo credit: Noam Moskowitz/Flash90)
Police Commissioner Yohanan Danino (photo credit: Noam Moskowitz/Flash90)

Eleven mob hits on Israel’s streets have gone unsolved in the past year, Channel 2 reported Sunday, a day after a man was killed when his car exploded in south Tel Aviv, the latest in a string of assassinations that have the police on alert.

It was the second car explosion within a week, and the fourth underworld-related fatality since the beginning of the month.

Addressing the recent spike of underworld assassinations and assassination attempts across the country, police chief Yohanan Danino acknowledged Sunday that mob attacks in the midst of bustling cities were crippling to citizens’ sense of security, and said he considered them to be a form of “terrorism.”

Danino said criminal organizations were increasingly using bomb hits as a form of warfare, as they presented fewer risks than shooting attacks. He said police forces were stopping attacks on an almost daily basis.

“There is no police force in the world, I promise you, that is capable of preventing such incidents completely,” he stated during a visit to the Acre police station.

In the most recent attack Saturday night, Ezra Mizrahi of Nahariya was killed in a south Tel Aviv neighborhood when his car exploded and went up in flames. Police said Mizrahi was known to them for previous violent crimes and property offenses.

A car exploded in south Tel Aviv Saturday night, killing the occupant. (photo credit: Hatzala rescue service, Facebook)
A car exploded in south Tel Aviv Saturday night, killing the occupant. (photo credit: Hatzala rescue service, Facebook)

Many of the bombs being used by criminal organizations to carry out assassinations are military-grade explosives smuggled from within the IDF, Danino said. “In most cases,” the weaponry and explosives come from the IDF, he said, and called for coordinated action with the army to prevent the illegal flow of materiel from the IDF to the criminal underworld.

MK Moshe Mizrachi (Labor), a former top cop, told Army Radio on Sunday there had to be a crackdown on the “ease” by which IDF explosives found their way into the hands of criminals.

Danino said police were working closely with the army to stem the growing smuggling problem.

While he recognized that mob bombings were a growing concern, the police commissioner hurried to stress that the scale of attacks had not burgeoned recently. “Statistically there weren’t more explosions in [2013] compared to the previous year,” he said. Of course, he added “any explosion is one explosion too many.”

February has seen a surge of underworld-related violence: A known mobster was killed in the southern Israeli city of Ashkelon on the weekend before last, reportedly over a love affair he had with a woman from a crime family from northern Israel; two men were killed last Monday when their car exploded in Petah Tikva, apparently blown up by their own explosives; Channel 10 reported three further attempts to carry out car bomb hits in the past week, which were unsuccessful.

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