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Police: Hit squad arrested in south while headed to kill member of rival gang

Reports identity 5-member team as part of mobster Shalom Domrani’s organization, which is feuding with Benny Shlomo’s crime family

The suspects, members of the Shalom Domrani-led criminal gang, arrested last night outside of Ashkelon. All five men, residents of Southern Israel in their 20s, are in police custody. May 26, 2022. (Israel Police)
The suspects, members of the Shalom Domrani-led criminal gang, arrested last night outside of Ashkelon. All five men, residents of Southern Israel in their 20s, are in police custody. May 26, 2022. (Israel Police)

Police on Friday said officers thwarted an attempted assassination in southern Israel as part of an ongoing feud between rival gangs.

According to police, the five-member hit team set out from the coastal city of Ashkelon overnight for a nearby community, one of whose residents they allegedly intended to kill.

Officers arrested the suspects “a moment before they succeeded in realizing their plan,” a police statement said.

Police said the suspects, who tried to escape, were wearing body armor and traveling in a stolen vehicle when stopped by officers. They were accused of trying to resist arrest.

A number of weapons that the suspects planned to use in the hit were seized separately, according to police, who did not specify where the firearms were found.

The suspects, all residents of the south in their 20s and 30s, were due to appear later Friday in court for a remand hearing.

Underworld figure Shalom Domrani seen in the Rishon Lezion court in 2011. (Gideon Markowicz/Flash90)

Hebrew media reports identified the five as members of Shalom Domrani’s criminal organization. They were reportedly headed to assassinate a senior figure in a rival gang led by Benny Shlomo at his home in the town of Nitzan.

Police said the arrests were the result of an undercover probe opened after a shooting Sunday in Ashkelon and suspect both incidents were part of the feud between Domrani and Shlomo, whose apparent attacks against one another have escalated in recent months.

Domrani was released from prison last October after serving six years for two attempted murder convictions, and has since then allegedly been working to strengthen and financially rehabilitate his organization.

His exit from prison came after Shlomo was also released last August, having served time for assault.

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