Man in handcuffs - illustrative.
(photo credit: INGIMAGE / ASAP)
An underworld bomb-maker infamous in the South was arrested earlier this month after he went to pick up a bomb at an Ashkelon park while on a family outing with his infant son and his wife, police cleared for publication on Thursday.
Adi Mahlouf, 38, is a well-known underworld figure who police say was on his way to sell the ready-to-use 2kg. bomb when he was arrested on December 15.
Mahlouf is a freelance bomb maker, and – according to police – sells the highly powerful explosives to the highest bidder, without any sort of underworld loyalties.
Detectives from the Lachish subdistrict had been following Mahlouf for some time when they saw him stash the bomb in the bushes at a park on December 15.
Later in the day they saw him return to the scene with his one-year-old son, who was being pushed in a stroller by the child’s mother.
The three played in the park for some time before mother and son returned to their car, while Mahlouf donned gardening gloves and made his way to the bushes.
According to Ch.-Supt. Yigal Klimian, the head of the Lachish subdistrict police, when officers saw Mahlouf returning to the bushes they swooped in to arrest him, before he could take the bomb and place it in the car with his family. Klimian said a bomb of that size could have easily killed several people.
After Mahlouf was arrested, police set up an ambush for the three men they suspected of waiting to pick up the bomb. They sent an undercover agent to rendezvous with the men and hand them a fake bomb.
The agent told reporters that “since Adi is known as someone who has a lot of girls, I acted as one of his girls and went to the gas station to meet the suspects.”
The agent said the three men took the package almost instantly and were arrested by police after they left the scene.
Investigators believe the bomb was to be sold to associates of the Lavi brothers crime family from Rehovot, which is tied to Shalom Domrani’s Ashkelon-based organization. The Lavi brothers have been trying to muscle in on Ashdod for some time, and take control of bottle recycling, gambling and loan sharking from the “Georgian Gang” (“Hagruzinim”), the local Ashdod crew allied with Benny Shlomo.
Shlomo made his name as a top associate of Domrani before starting his own mob and launching a blood-feud with his former boss, leading to a series of car bombs in and around Ashkelon over the past couple years.
Police said Thursday they expect an indictment to be issued against Mahlouf and the three other suspects on Friday.