Scene of January 23 car bombing in Hod hasharon in which Shai Bachar.
(photo credit: MAGEN DAVID ADOM)
Police anti-organized crime detectives on Monday arrested four suspects believed to be linked to a car bombing that killed a complainant in a criminal case against Avi Ruhan, the head of a major crime family based in the Sharon.
The four suspects are all members of a criminal organization, police said, adding that they expect more arrests to follow.
Shai Bachar was killed on January 23 in Hod Hasharon while he was driving in his car with his 17-year-old daughter, who was lightly injured by the blast. Bachar had agreed to a police request to testify in an extortion case against Ruhan, 51, and his associate, Sami Mizan, 40, both of Ra’anana.
Bachar’s testimony was used to craft an indictment issued against Ruhan and Mizan in October of last year, which charged aggravated extortion against both men, with Ruhan also facing an aggravated assault charge.
The indictment described how the two suspects and other members of Ruhan’s organization relentlessly threatened Bachar in order to get him to pay back a debt he owed to a local store owner. The suspects charged exorbitant interest rates and when Bachar was unable to keep up with the payments, he was repeatedly threatened, and on one occasion, Ruhan’s associates sliced him on his forearm with a kitchen knife, according to the indictment.
Ruhan has for years been one of the most prominent and feared underworld figures in Israel, and has spread his interests outside of Israel, including reputedly in Serbia and Morocco, among other places. He is a top target of the Israel Police and is suspected of being involved in or having ordered a series of underworld murders in recent years that remain unsolved.