Two people were seriously injured on Thursday evening in a car explosion on HaMeyasedim Street in Nahariya. The two men, 19 and 32-years-old, were evacuated in critical condition to the Galilee Medical Center in the city and were rushed to the operating room.
Police have opened an investigation, conducting searches for the perpetrators and collecting evidence at the scene.
Following an assessment, the investigation was assigned to the Central Unit in the Coastal District, with the main suspicion being that it was an attempted assassination. "I take this incident seriously," said Asher District Commander, Shaul Tzemach, when he arrived at the scene. "There could have been quite a few casualties here, [the fact that it occurred during this] the hour saved quite a few people from being on the road."
the 32-year-old is a relative of a senior criminal in the underworld, and a year and a half ago an attempt was made to eliminate him at a snooker club in the city. The wounded man's father was killed in an assassination in Nahariya back in 2014. A source close to the family told Ynet: "He had nothing to do with the crime wars his uncle is conducting in the city."
The two men exited a nearby building, where a friend of his lives. Shortly afterwards, the fierce explosion shook the neighborhood. The driver lost control and the vehicle continued driving for tens of meters until it stopped.
Footage of the incident shows MDA teams and firefighters at an intersection in the city, where traffic was stopped, drawing attention. "We heard a bomb as if a Katyusha had fallen," said a 72-year-old Nahariya resident who was at the train station at the time of the blast. "A bunch of sirens all around. Ambulances and vehicles from all directions."
"It was more of an explosion than we would have received from Lebanon," one neighbor described. "I was the first to arrive. One was outside the car sitting badly injured in his legs. Both of their phones were thrown outside."
"I was very lucky," said a driver who happened to pass by at the time of the incident and then returned to the scene. "I drove in front of him and heard the explosion. I thought at first that I had a flat tire, but then I saw the fire in my rearview mirror. Right next door to a residential building. Do not say it's some remote place. People pass through there."
MDA paramedic Eliana Agassi and MDA emergency medicine paramedic Dor Vaknin said they were at the MDA station when they heard the loud explosion, about 200 meters from them. "There was a lot of commotion and dozens of people were at the scene," they said. "The vehicle was on the sidewalk as one of the wounded was lying near the left side while he was conscious, and inside the vehicle another wounded man was stuck while unconscious. We immediately started life-saving medical treatment, which included placing arterial blockages and stopping bleeding. We quickly put them in an intensive care ambulances and evacuated them to the hospital when their condition was serious and unstable."
Naor Cohen, a paramedic from United Hatzalah, said: "While driving, I heard an explosion from a vehicle that collided with a guardrail. I immediately stopped to help and asked United Hatzalah dispatch to call intensive care ambulances and firefighters and police. After the initial assistance, two casualties were evacuated from the scene in critical and serious condition to the Galilee Medical Center, suffering serious injuries to their limbs."
According to residents, the explosion occurred in a vehicle traveling at the intersection of Highway 4 and HaMeyasedim Street, one of the longest streets in Nahariya, leading from the intercity road to the sea. "It was a very big explosion," said a city resident. "We were sitting in a pub on Ga'aton Avenue, where there is a lot of noise, and we heard it." He added that after seeing the vehicles and ambulances, "a lot of people outside were intrigued."
Following the incident, Highway 4, an intercity road which crosses Nahariya from south to north and as it passes in Nahariya is called the Independence Road, was closed to traffic for long hours to allow police officers to work at the scene of the explosion. Drivers were directed to bypass roads.