Alperon's son: I'll cut off killer's arms and legs
At father's funeral, slain mobster Alperon's son swears revenge; PM: Police in need of shake up.
By JPOSTLEO GIOSUÈCOM STAFF, ABE SELIG
Thousands attended the funeral of crime boss Ya'acov Alperon on Tuesday, who was assassinated in his car in Tel Aviv on Monday. Mourners at the Ra'anana Cemetery included some well-known underworld figures.
"We will never forgive, God will avenge his blood," said one of Alperon's sons at the graveside. "We will find the man who did this. I'll send this man to God. He won't have a grave because I'll cut off his arms, his head, and his legs."
One of his daughters, in her eulogy, said that her father was always smiling, and that he came to all of his children's school events. "He was a warm and loved father," she said, who looked after his children and his wife, and his death left a hole in their lives.
Amidar gang leader Roni Harari said of Alperon that he was "a family man who had long ago left the crime world." Netanya-based mob boss Rico Shirazi said he had come to pay his last respects.
Alperon's nephew said Tuesday morning that the slain mafia boss's murderer would be punished for his crime. "If he is not punished from above, he will be punished by other means," Ronen Salameh told Army Radio, adding that he wished the assassin the same fate as that of his uncle.
"We'll find out who did it. It's only a matter of time," Salameh said.
Prime Minister Ehud Olmert said Tuesday that law enforcement bodies need to be shaken up in light of rising violence caused by organized crime.
"There is an inconsistency between the level of crime and the manner in which it is being handled," he said.
Olmert added that he intended to meet with Public Security Minister Avi Dichter and Police Insp.-Gen. David Cohen in the coming days to hear of their proposed plans to fight organized crime.
Earlier, the Tel Aviv District Court authorized the release of Alperon's son Dror from detention for the duration of the funeral, along with a second family member being held in prison. The court, however, denied Dror Alperon's request to remain free throughout the shiva.
Alperon's widow, Ahuva, pleaded that her son be allowed to remain with her longer. "I ask that my... boy...be allowed to come home. It's so difficult for us," she told Army Radio.
Ahuva, told the radio station she had had not been aware of threats on her husband's life. "He was in court yesterday. What safer place is there?" she said. "I still haven't grasped what happened yesterday," she said in tears. "I have seven orphans now."
Asked what would happen if rivals of the family show up at the funeral, Salameh said some would be accepted. Those who weren't wanted, he said, "probably won't come, because they know they're not welcome."
Police fear a full-scale war between the country's various organized crime families will erupt after Alperon was killed when a car bomb exploded in his vehicle on a busy Tel Aviv thoroughfare Monday afternoon.
Three bystanders, including a 13-year-old boy, were wounded in the blast, which left Alperon's car ablaze as it sat on the corner of Rehov Yehuda Hamaccabi and Derech Namir.
Police had initially identified Alperon's body by the polo shirt he had been seen wearing earlier in the day at a Tel Aviv courthouse, where his son Dror was indicted on an unrelated charge.
After the blast, large numbers of police, firefighters and medics arrived on the scene, including Insp.-Gen. David Cohen and Cmdr. Ilan Franco, the Tel Aviv police commander. Police said they were searching for a second vehicle that sped away from the scene of the blast, but a gag order was later placed on the details of the investigation.
"An extremely serious event took place today, and its consequences are completely clear to us," Franco said. "It likely happened because of an internal conflict within the Tel Aviv crime world ... If there are consequences to this attack, we will have to deal with them."
Alperon had many enemies, including convicted drug lord Ze'ev Rosenstein - who himself has survived at least seven assassination attempts - and the rival Abutbul and Abergil families, with whom the Alperons battled over a lucrative bottle recycling racket.
Alperon has also had a standing feud with another gangster, Amir Mulner, dating to a January 2006 arbitration summit that went wrong. Knives and guns were drawn there, and Mulner emerged with a stab wound to the neck that was widely attributed to Alperon.
A number of attempts have been made on Alperon's life previously, including an attack in 2001, in which the assailants threw a grenade at his home.
Alperon also survived a previous car bomb attack in 2003. In 2004, an indictment was filed against four Belorussian citizens for trying to murder Alperon and his associates, and last year, police defused an explosive device found in his son Elad's car.
Coincidentally, two men convicted of attempting to assassinate Alperon's older brother, Nissim, last May, were sentenced on Tuesday to eight and ten years in prison. In that incident, police intercepted a three-man hit team dispatched to assassinate him, and in the ensuing gunbattle a policeman was seriously wounded and one of the gunmen was killed.
Alperon had served multiple prison terms and was arrested several times for stabbings, assault, blackmail and intimidation. He recently served a 10-month prison sentence as part of a plea agreement.
AP contributed to this report
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