Mobster Alperon killed in TA car bomb

3 passersby injured as car explodes on busy Tel Aviv street; heavy police forces to guard funeral.

alperon car bomb 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
alperon car bomb 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Mob kingpin Yaakov Alperon was killed Monday when a bomb exploded in his car on a crowded Tel Aviv thoroughfare. His funeral will be held on Tuesday and attended by his family, as well as large numbers of police, Channel 2 reported. Medics said that three other people were wounded, including a 13-year-old boy, when the car went up in flames on the corner of Yehuda Hamaccabi and Derech Namir. The bloodied body was wearing the same polo shirt Alperon was seen sporting earlier in the day at a Tel Aviv courthouse, where his son, Dror, was indicted on a separate charge. Large numbers of police, firefighters and medics arrived on the scene, including Police Chief Insp.-Gen. David Cohen and Ilan Franco, the Tel Aviv police commander. "An extremely serious event took place today, and its consequences are completely clear to us," said Franco. "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." Police 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. 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. Bottle recycling adds up to a $5 million-a-year industry, according to estimates by police and environmental groups. Police say criminals sell restaurants protection in exchange for empties, which leave no paper trail and offer crime families a relatively legitimate source of income. Alperon has also had an open account with another gangster, Amir Mulner, dating to a January 2006 arbitration summit that went wrong. Knives and guns were drawn and Mulner emerged with a stab wound to the neck that was widely attributed to Alperon. Alperon went undercover, along with his son, and police searched the country in vain for two months before both Alperons struck a deal to turn themselves in voluntarily. They were never charged. Last May, Yaakov Alperon's older brother, Nissim, survived the ninth assassination attempt against him. A three-man hit team dispatched to get him was intercepted by police, and in the ensuing gunbattle a policeman was seriously wounded and one of the gunman was killed. "We received a report of an explosion in car," paramedic Lior Elharar told Army Radio. "We arrived within several minutes and found three casualties, one of whom was dead." "I heard a huge blast and I approached the junction," an eyewitness, Idit, said. "Two women were lying on the crosswalk and there was an exploded car. I thought it was a terror attack."