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Gang warfare appeared to have once again spilled onto the streets of Israel on Sunday afternoon, when two brothers, linked to the suspected Abergil crime family, were injured in a car bomb in Netanya.
Avi and Dani Karadi suffered burns and fragment injuries from an explosion that came from the back of their car and took place while they were driving along Ben Zvi Street, a side road that feeds into a main thoroughfare in the city, said Central Police Spokesman Oded Sharabi.
Eyewitness Avraham Hazut told Channel 10 that he saw two men run from the car after the explosion.
"The car flew into the air, burning," he said. "The men ran to the sand and began to roll in it...They were in shock."
Avi Karadi was seriously injured and taken first to the Rabin Medical Center and then to Sheba Medical Center, while Dani Karadi was lightly wounded and taken to Laniado Hospital in Kfar Saba. A woman passerby was treated for shock.
Sharabi described the attack as "an underworld argument, a settling of accounts," while a senior officer said police were investigating whether Assi Abutbol, an alleged rival of the Abergil family, may have been behind the assault. He added that it could be linked to recent attempts to assassinate Abutbol.
Sharabi said the Karadi brothers, who he described as Abergil soldiers, were known to the police from having been arrested in the past, although they haven't served any jail sentences.
The explosion on Sunday was the latest in a series of violent incidents that have taken place in public and involved suspected underworld figures. Abutbol has been the subject of two assassination attempts in the last few months, with an anti-tank missile landing on the street in front of the Netanya building where he lives in December. In January, police arrested five men who were planning another attack on him, while in February, a light anti-tank weapon (LAW) was found next to his home.
Last week, police were called to break up a fight in a Tel Aviv restaurant involving Ya'acov Alperon and members of organization run by Amir Mulner, who was stabbed in a fight in the Daniel Hotel in December. The chief suspects in that incident were Alperon and his son Dror.
The situation has become so notable that in February, the US added a paragraph about organized crime to its Israel travel warning, saying that violent confrontation between underworld organizations has led to the death and injury of innocent bystanders in incidents throughout the country.