A man was shot to death in a hail of bullets by masked men near the Tel Aviv beachfront on Saturday afternoon in a suspected underworld hit.
The victim was named as 27-year-old Taher Lala of Jaffa, a local criminal who was in the past a subject of police investigations in the district. The murder took place near the seaside Tahana complex between south Tel Aviv and Jaffa at a time when the area was full of hundreds of bystanders.
Police said Lala was killed as part of a feud with rival criminals in Jaffa. His murder is being investigated by the special Yamar unit.
Lala was sitting in the driver’s seat of a four-door sedan when several shots were fired into his window by two masked men on foot. Surveillance camera photos, published by Ynet, showed two men fleeing on foot from the scene of the crime and entering a silver Toyota Corolla across the street.
Not long after the shooting a car matching the camera footage was found torched on Derech Ben Tsvi not far from the murder scene.
Tel Aviv police said Saturday night that they have not yet determined whether the vehicle was the getaway car used in the shooting and they have not yet made any arrests, though they had brought in four men for questioning in connection to the shooting.
A couple of hours after the murder, Tel Aviv police chief Bentzi Sau said that he had placed the district’s police on a higher level of readiness, cutting vacation time and beefing up patrols, in response to the killing. He said that since the murder is linked to a feud in Jaffa, most patrols would be focused there, “with the intention of protecting the way of life in the area.”
Saturday’s shooting came less than a week after Ezra Mizrahi was killed by a car bomb in Kfar Shalem in south Tel Aviv. It is the latest in a series of underworld slayings in which four people have been murdered in less than two weeks in central Israel.
In November, not far from Saturday’s shooting, a Jaffa man was shot and killed, also in broad daylight, on Yehuda Hayamit Street. That shooting also took place on a Saturday afternoon on one of the busiest streets in the area, when it was full of people.