Israel: mafia-linked bomb blast in Tel Aviv

Fear and injured near Defence Ministry, alleged boss unharmed

10 January, 19:48

(ANSAmed) - TEL AVIV, JANUARY 10 - Fear and scenes straight out of mafia films were seen today in broad daylight in central Tel Aviv. Passengers in bus number 51 must have felt like they had been throw into a thriller when, before their very eyes, a white motorcycle pulled up alongside a Mazda car and a hitman attached a bomb to the left door. The driver quickly jumped outside and ran after the motorcycle. A few seconds later a powerful blast froze the blood in the veins of hundreds of passers-by who were near the Israeli Defence Ministry in Tel Aviv and the Azrieli Towers. While the blast was destroying the Mazda and injuring around ten of the bus passengers, the target of the attack (thought to be a local mafia boss) had already fled. And when the first rescue teams arrived to put out the flames and help the injured, the car was already empty. It was around 1pm when the bomb shook the windows of the Ministry of Defence, according to the ANSA correspondent on location. A metallic voice issuing from loudspeakers gave orders: get away from the windows, evacuate the offices, and gather in the central area of each level of the massive building. Initially there was concern over it for being yet another terrorist attack, and armed military patrols immediately took up position around the ministry. However, the police soon understood that this time the incident had been an attempted settling of scores within Israeli organised crime groups. The Mazda destroyed belonged to the wife of Nissim Alperon, a businessman involved in the underworld. Traced to his house soon afterwards, Alperon tried to brush off the matter, swearing that he didn't ''have a single enemy'' - to the disbelief of investigators. The media notes that Alperon has managed to survive nine assassination attempts since 2009, earning himself the nickname of ''a cat with nine lives''. Recently investigators had advised him to be on guard. (ANSAmed).

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