arrest 311 R.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard )
In what they are calling a “major blow to Israeli organized crime,” police and
prosecutors have prepared an indictment against four underworld figures,
including reputed senior Abergil crime family member Moti Hassin, in connection
to a pair of gangland hits carried out in the Tel Aviv area in the past two
Officers from the special YAMAR investigative unit announced the
arrests on Sunday, adding that by Monday they will present a series of
indictments against Hassin and his alleged accomplices Shlomi Niamchuk, Ofir
Niamchuk and Yitzhak Zerbi.
The cases in question include the killings of
Avi David, shot dead at point-blank range by a motorcyclist outside a Bat Yam
steakhouse last October; and Itzik Geffen, who died in a hail of gunfire at a
gas station next to Wolfson Hospital in Holon two months later.
described the arrests as part of a unique “topdown” case, which focused on those
who plotted the killings rather than the actual trigger men.
In a press
conference held at police headquarters in Tel Aviv on Sunday, officers said the
main motive for the killings was Geffen and David’s intention to join a rival
Head of the investigative branch of YAMAR Tel Aviv officer
Nir Shwartz said the most crucial aspect of the case is that the authorities
“were able to put [their] hands not on the one who pulled the trigger but the
one who planned the murders and sent the killers.”
Shwartz said Hassin
placed himself at the scene of David’s murder in order to make it appear that he
was a target as well, but by doing so he in fact led police to look at him as a
central suspect. Police reportedly have surveillance camera footage from the
restaurant showing Hassin sitting at a table with David shortly before the
YAMAR Tel Aviv District Commander Gadi Eshed said Sunday that he
believes the indictments will have a great effect on increasing the public’s
feeling of security, due to the fact that both incidents happened in public
places and in both instances innocent bystanders could have easily been
Hassin’s lawyer, Moshe Suchmi, laughed off the police allegations
Sunday, saying that there was no evidence against his client and the police held
the press conference only for the purpose of public relations.
they don’t know who fired the shots; they have no evidence whatsoever against my
client. This is just one more attempt by the police to attach an unsolved murder
case to Moti,” Suchmi said, adding that “it would be funny if it wasn’t
Police believe Hassin took the reins of the Abergil family after
Itzik Abergil and his brother Meir were extradited to the US in early 2011 on a
litany of drug and violent crime charges. While Itzik remains incarcerated in
the US awaiting trial, Meir was freed and returned to Israel in August 2011.
Police believe that the murders were carried out by Hassin partly as a means of
establishing his position as the new leader of the crime family and a force to
be reckoned with.