An underworld figure was seriously injured in a car bomb in Netanya on Thursday night, in what police suspect may have been an attempted underworld hit.

The victim, Ayal Sofer, is a well-known organized crime figure in the Netanya area, and has survived a number of attempts on his life in the past.

The explosion set off in his truck shook the area around Pinkas Street in the city’s old industrial district and engulfed the car in flames.

In October 2010, Sofer was arrested on suspicion of trying to carry out a hit on Charlie Abutbul, at the time allegedly the head of the Abutbul crime family. That attempt came only a month after Abutbul affiliates tried to carry out a hit on Sofer.

Sofer, 43, is a known affiliate of the Karaja crime family based out of Harish. The Israeli-Arab crime family is allied with Rico Shirazi’s Netanya- based crime family, which for years was a bitter rival of the Abutbuls until the latter’s power faded in recent years.

Shortly after Thursday’s bombing, Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch visited the scene and called on police to improve the investigative and technological tools at their disposal.

Aharonovitch said while he knows underworld bombings cause a feeling of insecurity among Israeli citizens, there is progress being made on those open murder cases.

Thursday’s car bomb was the latest of more than a dozen that have taken place in Israel since October of last year. 

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