michael mor 88.
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Underworld kingpin Michael Mor walked out of Shata Prison a free man on Thursday morning. Ignoring the legions of cameramen and reporters who waited for him outside the facility, located 15 km. from Afula, he headed directly to Mount Meron and the tomb of Rabbi Shimon Bar Yochai to pray.
Mor, dubbed the 'godfather of the North,' served a two-year prison sentence after being convicted for trying to extort judges and making death threats against policemen. Some of his threats against Nahariya police officers were made while in prison, during telephone conversations with associates on the outside.
Donning a white kippa on a shaved head, Mor was picked up by associates in a blacked-out BMW. He gained notoriety in 2006 by ordering henchmen to throw grenades at the homes of four police detectives who were investigating him. The officers pleaded with their superiors for protection, but eventually took the law into their own hands when they saw that none was forthcoming. The officers planted explosives outside of Mor's home and in his car.
The four men are due to begin a yearlong prison sentence next month.
The Prisons Service is considering placing them in a facility that houses Palestinian security prisoners, to ensure they are kept far away from Israeli criminals. If this is done, a Prisons Service source told <.i>The Jerusalem Post on Thursday, the officers "certainly would not be placed in the same ward as security prisoners."
The officers' actions have sparked a firestorm of controversy over the Israel Police's ability to face down gangsters and back up rank and file officers on the front line in the war on crime, and prompted a police review of protection procedures for the increasing number of officers coming under death threats by mobsters.
"Michael Mor has left the past behind him," said his attorney, Yahali Shperling. "He intends on living a normative life and caring for his family. In the coming days, he will decide on his future direction."
Police are skeptical of such proclamations, and will keep a close watch on Mor's movements.
Ma'ariv reported on Thursday that police will set up a special intelligence desk dedicated solely to tracking Mor's activities, and that officers will eavesdrop on his communications while looking to see if he commits even the smallest of misdemeanors, in order to call him in for questioning. Publicly, police have said they do not intend to focus on Mor so long as he steers clear of crime.
The released prisoner is said to be planning a holiday in Eilat in the coming days.