A potent car bomb that went off on a bustling Ramat Gan street on Wednesday afternoon was targeted at prominent underworld figure Nissim Alperon.

A bomb was planted under Alperon’s black Toyota jeep and went off as it drove through Ramat Gan’s Rashi Street, near Alperon’s home.

He and his bodyguard were traveling in the vehicle.

The explosion tore through the jeep, setting it on fire and causing serious damage, but failed to harm Alperon. His bodyguard was lightly wounded.

The area was flooded with police and paramedics in the minutes after the blast, which occurred 50 meters from the Dan sub-district police headquarters in Ramat Gan. Officers quickly realized Alperon was the target and ran toward the site.

“Police bomb squad units are on the scene, trying to determine what kind of explosives were used,” police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said. Officers believe the device was planted underneath the vehicle.

The scene was also visited by Tel Aviv police district head Cmdr. Aharon Aksul.

Locals said their homes shook from the force of Wednesday’s blast, describing the experience as terrifying.

“We heard a powerful explosion. The whole house shook. It was frightening. We ran downstairs and saw the car going up in flames,” a resident told Ma’ariv.

Alperon has been the target of a several failed assassination attempts, including bombings and shooting attacks by criminal rivals.

His brother Yaakov was assassinated by a powerful car bomb in 2008 in north Tel Aviv, as he drove away from his son’s court appearance.

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