Gang warfare in Jaffa claimed another life on Thursday afternoon, when a local man was killed in a car bombing in the middle of the Ajami neighborhood of the city.
The car bomb shook the tightly packed streets of the neighborhood, shattering windows on adjacent streets and sending the hood of another car flying two blocks into the yard of a family home.
The target, a local man in his 20s, was rushed to Wolfson Medical Center by friends before paramedics arrived, but died on the way.
Police said the car was driving down Hatzri Street when the bomb exploded, indicating that it was most likely a remote-detonated bomb.
Speaking at the scene of the blast, acting district commander Asst.-Ch. Benzi Sau called the bombing “a very severe incident that endangers citizens,” adding that police assume there is a connection between the blast and the fatal shooting of a 32-year-old Jaffa man on Rabenu Yeruham Street on Saturday night. He also said police believe they know who is behind both of the killings.
The man killed in the blast Thursday is well known to police, and a number of residents of the neighborhood said he was known to be linked to the Hamad crime family, which for years has feuded with the Ayash family in Jaffa. The man shot dead on Saturday night is affiliated with the Ayash gang, and police are working on the assumption that today’s killing is somehow related.
In February, Jaffa man Taher Lele was gunned down in broad daylight on the Tel Aviv beachfront in front of hundreds of bystanders in a murder that remains unsolved. Lele was reputedly an enforcer for the Ayash crime family. Two suspects from the Hamad family were arrested after the shooting, but released within days, as were the members of a suspected hit team that was stopped on their way to avenge the killing of Lele, according to police.
Thursday’s car bombing joins a series of around 20 car bombs in Israeli cities over the past year, along with over two-dozen gangland murders.
The brazen manner in which criminal gangs waged their feuds in the middle of Israeli cities, surrounded by civilians, drew great public criticism toward police. This criticism largely faded until this week, when news broke that police failed to properly deal with the distress call made by one of the three kidnapped boys in the West Bank last Thursday night.