(photo credit: YAAKOV LAPPIN)
A powerful blast shook Rehovot in the early hours of Tuesday morning, when a bomb planted on a van exploded, seriously wounding its 25-year-old driver.
Police have described the attack as a criminal assassination attempt. The wounded driver was rushed to Rehovot's Kaplan hospital in serious condition, suffering from wounds to his limbs. His van was demolished in the explosion.
Police suspect that a large bomb was planted underneath the vehicle and may have been set off via remote control.
The police's Central District Central Unit, headed by Asst.-Cmdr. Avi Noiman, has been tasked with leading the investigation.
According to Central District Police chief Cmdr. Nissim Moor, the driver had a previous criminal record. "We are attempting to catch the culprits," he added.
A criminal feud centering on Rehovot's wholesale market, involving market stall owners and based on a dispute over protection money and the placement of security guards, appears to form the background of the bombing.
"Why don't the authorities tackle crime like [former New York mayor Rudolph] Giuliani did?" a local man asked.
"It's gotten to be like Chicago here," a woman added.