Police walk near Jerusalem's Damascus Gate 390 (R).
(photo credit: Ammar Awad / Reuters)
Police on Sunday arrested a man they believe stashed guns in a Bat Yam
kindergarten, which they suspect were to be used as part of an ongoing power
struggle in Israeli organized crime.
The police say Lior Amsalem, a
38-year-old Bat Yam resident, stored drugs and an arsenal of firearms on the
roof of a kindergarten in the city. On Monday the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court
extended his remand by seven days.
Police found the weapons during a drug
raid in mid-February. The firearms included an M16, pistols, explosives, and
A spokesman for the Tel Aviv police said that Amsalem is
suspected to be a member of the crime family run by Moti Hassin, and that the
guns were likely intended for use in an ongoing power struggle in Israeli
The spokesman said that Amsalem lived next door to the
kindergarten and is suspected of stashing the guns on the roof of the building
at nighttime, long after closing hours. He added that no one at the kindergarten
is linked to the criminal act, and that while the guns were well-hidden there
was a possibility that children could have been hurt if they had discovered the
According to the spokesman, the raid was part of an ongoing
investigation into the Hassin family being carried out by the special YAMAR
In late March the Tel Aviv District Attorney filed an
indictment in the Tel Aviv District Court charging four members of the Hassin
organization, including Hassin himself, in connection with the 2011 gangland
murder of Avi David. David, a known criminal underworld figure, was shot dead at
close range last October outside a restaurant in Bat Yam.
alongside Hassin were three Bat Yam residents: 29-year-old Zalman Shlomo
Niamchik, 28- year-old Ofir Niamchik and Yitzhak Zarabi, 29.
also stands accused in the murder of Itzik Geffen, who was killed in a second
gangland shooting at a gas station near Holon’s Wolfson Hospital, two months
after David’s murder.
Police believe Hassin took charge of the Abergil
family after Itzik Abergil and his brother Meir were extradited to the US in
early 2011 on a litany of drug and violent crime charges. Though Itzik remains
incarcerated in the US awaiting trial, Meir was freed and returned to Israel in
In March, police said they believe Hassin carried out the
two murders partly as a show of force to establish his position as the new
leader of the crime family.