Dei'ah veDibur - Information & Insight

A Window into the Chareidi World

18 Adar 5764 - March 11, 2004 | Mordecai Plaut, director Published Weekly









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18 Mobsters Arrested in Israel
by Yated Ne'eman Staff

Police have arrested 14 Israelis on suspicion of involvement in a number of attempted underworld assassinations. In addition, they detained four foreign nationals from Belarus, "hired guns" who police believe were brought to Israel to carry out at least one hit.

Details of the arrests were published Tuesday, at a press conference convened by police after the Tel Aviv Magistrate's Court lifted a gag order on the yearlong investigation, which was spearheaded by Major General Yossi Sedbon.

The four foreign hit men were responsible for placing an incendiary device at the end of January in the car park at the Azrielli shopping and office complex in central Tel Aviv. Police were shocked to discover that the device had fallen from the car of Ezra "Shoni" Gavrieli, the businessman father of Likud Knesset member Inbal Gavrieli.

Gavrieli denied that he was the target. He said that he is not involved in underworld power struggles and that he has no idea who would want to harm him, or why.

Police believe that the attempt to kill Gavrieli was part of an underworld power struggle. Police found video evidence that shows the device falling off Shoni Gavrieli's car, and called him to the central investigations division for questioning. Gavrieli told officers that he was shocked to hear that he had been the intended target of the device.

Police also displayed a large cache of arms which belonged to the alleged hit cell. According to one of the officers involved in the case, "we haven't come across such a large cache of weapons and ammunition in a very long time." Among the items seized from an apartment in the Sharon region were two LAU missiles, dozens of hand grenades telescopes and firearms. Police believe that the suspects intended to use a missile in the very near future.

According to police, the four foreigners entered Israel via the Egyptian border in November 2003. They were arrested on February 14, leading police to an apartment in Kfar Sava.

An bloody underworld battle has been raging for the past two years, over control of illegal gambling in Israel and abroad. Police intelligence officers have identified six main crime families involved in the conflict, and know that they are divided broadly into two main camps: the Abergil family and the allied Alperon family on the one side, and Zeev Rosenstein crime family backed by the Aboutbul family, on the other.

Several weeks ago, Internal Security Minister Tzachi Hanegbi and Israel Police Insp.-Gen. Shlomo Aharonishky presented a NIS 1.3 billion plan to Prime Minister Ariel Sharon which they said would rid Israel of organized crime by 2007. In the last year-and-a-half, nine bystanders have been killed in criminal attacks.


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