Police arrested five people on Sunday night allegedly en route to assassinate notorious alleged Israeli mobster Asi Abutbul.
Reportedly operating on intelligence they had received of a planned hit, the International Crimes Investigation Unit of the Israel Police lay in wait for the five suspects and apprehended them near Abutbul's Netanya home.
The five were expected to appear before the Petah Tikva Magistrate's Court Monday morning for a remand hearing.
This is not the first time that attempts have been made on the alleged crime kingpin's life. Last month, Abutbul narrowly escaped an assassination attempt when hitmen fired a rocket at his armored car while he was in it. The rocket missed the car and exploded between two buildings, a few meters away from him.
Abutbul's main foe is considered to be head of the Abergil crime syndicate Itzik Abergil.
Abutbul's lawyer, Revital Sweid, told Army Radio Monday morning that in her opinion police were taking undue credit in claiming they had foiled an attempted hit.
"I wouldn't hurry up and publicize, as the police did, that they managed to thwart an assassination attempt. All they did was arrest five people, who weren't even armed," Sweid said. "It's not really clear how the police reached the conclusion that they had prevented a hit."
"When they arrest five people who aren't carrying any weapons, how can they say they prevented a murder?" Sweid demanded.
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