Detectives arrest Jaffa 'hit squad' on the way to avenge Saturday beachfront murder

Suspects to appear in court; police beef up patrols after wave of underworld crime killings.

February 17, 2014 18:05
2 minute read.
car shooting

The vehicle in which Taher Lala was shot on Saturday in Tel Aviv.. (photo credit: COURTESY ISRAEL POLICE)


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Police arrested on Monday three relatives of Taher Lele, who was gunned down in his car on Saturday.

They say the men were armed with a loaded pistol and, allegedly, on their way to avenge his death.

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The arrests, which include a minor, were carried out by Yiftach sub-district detectives in Jaffa, and prevented a further cycle of clan violence in Jaffa, Tel Aviv police said.

The murder of Lele was the second deadly gangland hit in the city in less than a week, following a car bomb in Kfar Shalem last Saturday, which killed Ezra Mizrahi who was in town visiting family.

Lele was gunned down by two men who opened fire at point blank range into his car window while he was stopped in traffic across from the “Tahana” complex.

He was reputedly an enforcer for the Ayash crime family from Jaffa, which has been involved in a years long feud with the Hamad family, a war that has led to much bloodshed around the city.

At the time of the shooting the Tahana entertainment center was packed with hundreds of visitors taking part in a chocolate festival.

The killing was yet another black eye for the police force, which is facing a wave of public criticism after a series of underworld hits across the country took place in the past few months – including nearly a dozen car bombs.

After Lele’s murder, Tel Aviv District Commander Bentzi Sau ordered beefed-up patrols in Jaffa, slashing days off for officers and calling in reinforcements from around the district. At the time he said his goal was to protect public order in the city and prevent further violence.

Yiftach subdistrict head Supt. David Gez said Monday that the arrests came following the decision on Saturday to concentrate their efforts on bringing together their street-level intelligence and prevent a revenge killing.

“We made a situation assessment and consolidated our intelligence, setting up surveillance and ambushes in order to stop what we feared would happen in the days after the murder.”

On Saturday night, police arrested two suspects in the shooting, both members of the Hamad clan. Their remand was extended the next day, until Wednesday.

On Tuesday, the three men detained on the way to avenge the killing will appear in the same courtroom to hear the charges against them.

Also on Monday, a man was shot and seriously wounded in Bat Yam in what police believe was a robbery.

Police arrested two men suspected of involvement in the shooting on Monday afternoon. The victim of the shooting was an approximately 30-year-old jewelery dealer. MDA paramedics treated him on the scene before transporting him to Wolfson Medical center in Holon.

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