Suspect in Lamborghini hit attempt nabbed as he tries to board plane out of country

Arrest is fourth in connection with shooting last week, which saw assailants set up fake police roadblock to halt target’s car on Route 6

The scene of a suspected assassination attempt on Route 6, near Ben Shemen Interchange, December 6, 2022. (Israel Police)
The scene of a suspected assassination attempt on Route 6, near Ben Shemen Interchange, December 6, 2022. (Israel Police)

Police arrested a man as he tried to board a plane at Ben Gurion Airport Thursday on suspicion of involvement in an apparent hit attempt on a central highway last week.

The suspect, a resident of Ramle in his thirties, is the fourth person detained in connection with the shooting on Route 6.

All four suspects were to be brought for a remand hearing at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court, police said in a statement.

Two people were arrested last week and a third on Sunday, all of them residents of Ramle.

The shooting last Tuesday apparently targeted a criminal underworld money launderer over a $145,000 debt, according to a preliminary investigation.

A probe found that several coordinated teams erected a fake police roadblock on Route 6 near Ben Shemen Interchange to halt the target’s Lamborghini, then assaulted him and another man who was with him. The two, residents of East Jerusalem aged 46 and 31, were injured, one seriously and the other moderately. As they were being treated by medics, a passing motorcyclist shot at them.

Hebrew media outlets reported initial police findings that the target had been a man who serves as a money launderer for crime organizations and owns a garage for luxury vehicles. A year ago, he took a NIS 500,000 ($145,000) loan from a crime organization to pay off a debt. He allegedly bought a Lamborghini with the money and didn’t return the loan, sparking a dispute with the gang.

On one occasion, when members of the crime group arrived to demand the money, the money launderer’s associates stabbed one of them in the face, seriously injuring him, Channel 12 reported last week.

The scene of a suspected attempted murder on Route 6, near Ben Shemen Interchange, December 6, 2022. (Israel Police)

The crime group reportedly worked with several separate cells in the assassination attempt, allegedly in a bid to mislead police. One team followed the target along Route 6 all the way from northern Israel to the center of the country, while communicating with a second team that put up a makeshift police checkpoint in the middle of the highway.

During the incident, many drivers believed it was a genuine police roadblock. When the target’s car stopped there, several cell members on motorcycles approached the car, opened its door and beat and stabbed the two passengers, then fled the scene.

Later, while medics were treating the injured men, a third cell arrived and fired the gunshots, narrowly missing the medics, one of whom said a bullet passed between his legs.

A suspect arrested hours after the shooting was named as 23-year-old Karem Abu Ghanem from Ramle. He is suspected of attempted murder and other offenses.

On Wednesday last week, a second suspect, a Ramle resident in his 30s, was arrested. He was reportedly spotted by a police drone with thermal imaging as he hid among trees in an orchard near the town of Mazkeret Batya.

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