An El Al Boeing 777 aircraft is seen at Tel Aviv’s Ben Gurion International Airport.
(photo credit: NIR ELIAS/REUTERS/IDF SPOKESMAN)
An underworld boss from the South was arrested at Ben-Gurion Airport on Friday along with three of his associates, and is being held on suspicion of extortion.
Benny Shlomo, from Moshav Heletz in the Ashkelon coast region, is well-known for the bloody feud he has waged in recent years with Shalom Domrani, the southern Israel kingpin from nearby Ashkelon. Shlomo was one of Domrai’s top lieutenants until he started his own operation a few years ago, opening a gangland war with his former boss.
On Friday, Shlomo and his associates were arrested at the airport he before they could board a plane, police said.
Hours after their arrest, the Ashkelon Magistrate’s Court ordered all four men kept in custody for six days at the request of police.
In September of last year, Shlomo’s brother Shalom was gunned down in a drive-by shooting as he sat in his car near Kiryat Gat.
In late 2013, a series of bombings in the Ashkelon area, believed to be linked to Shlomo’s operation, killed and wounded associates of Domrani. The bombings were part of a wave of underworld violence across the country in late 2013 and early 2014.
The feud between the former partners has also stretched into a proxy war between Domrani’s associates in the Lavi brothers crime family from Rehovot and the “Georgians gang,” a crew from Ashdod tied to Shlomo.
In October, an indictment was issued against Domrani and dozens of his associates after an enforcer who worked for him turned police informant and shed light on an alleged plot by the kingpin to kill a series of rivals affiliated with Shlomo.
The indictment includes charges ranging from murder to firearms offenses.