Crime scene (illustrative).
(photo credit: INGIMAGE)
The weekend murder in Tel Aviv of the son of one of the country’s most notorious crime family bosses by a member of a rival gang may have set the stage for a violent confrontation, as police continued Sunday to search for the killer.
Shay Shirazi, 30, was shot Saturday night in a hail of bullets fired from a car while he was driving on Moshe Sneh Street in northern Tel Aviv with an unidentified 45-year-old male passenger who was lightly wounded, police said.
After being treated at the scene and rushed to Ichilov Hospital, Shirazi, the son of organized crime leader Rico Shirazi, died of his wounds.
Police promptly closed Sneh Street in both directions and set up road blocks in the surrounding area to search for the shooter, who fled the scene in his vehicle.
Shay’s father is a one-time player for Maccabi Netanya FC and, for many years, has been one of the most wellknown mob bosses in Israel largely due to his high-profile and bloody feud with the Abutbul family, which is also based in Netanya.
The murder of his son is one of the most high-profile underworld hits in Israel in the past decade and is sure to make waves far beyond his family’s base of operations in the Sharon region.
Shay was part of the often maligned generation of mob princes born into underworld royalty like his counterpart Dror Alperon (son of the late Yaakov Alperon) and younger up-and-comers such as Nissim Domrani (son of Shalom Domrani), among many others.
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Though their fathers, for the most part, grew up poor or working class and built their names on the street from nothing, young men like Shay were born with a reputation and name that gave them clout.
The younger generation also often has been saddled with the reputation of being hot-headed, spoiled youngsters without the street smarts or “honor” of their fathers, who are often easier prey for law enforcement.
The past year has not been kind to the elder Shirazi either; in December, Rico was sentenced to eight years in prison for money-laundering, fraud and NIS 25 million in tax crimes.
He, along with several other top Israeli underworld figures, also has been indicted as part of “Case 512,” a sprawling investigation involving years of drug trafficking and murders stretching back more than a decade.
Shirazi’s conviction in December also covered threats he made against a state witness who he told during a conversation caught on wiretap that he would follow to the ends of the Earth to exact vengeance. The July indictment had stated that Shirazi and an accomplice paid a hit man $50,000 in 2003 to murder an associate of his rival, then-Netanya mob boss Asi Abutbul.
On Sunday, Lod Central District court president, Judge Avraham Tal rejected a petition by Shirazi to attend Shay’s funeral, citing “fear for the safety of the petitioner and others attending the funeral.”
Tal did, however, rule that Shirazi would be able to visit the grave site on the 30-day anniversary of the murder for the traditional prayers.
In the meantime, Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said the background of the hit indeed appears to stem from an underworld rivalry.
“Police have gathered evidence and carried out security assessments after the murder, and an investigation is being carried out by Lahav 443, the national unit that deals with organized crime,” he said.
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