Police believe the attack near Arad
on Tuesday in which shots were fired at passing cars and a LAW rocket was found in the vicinity, ready for use, was directed at underworld figure Itzik Abergil.
Abergil, who is reportedly connected to one of the biggest crime families in the country, escaped unhurt in the alleged assassination attempt. His lawyer maintained that Abergil had not been the intended target.
Police initiated intensive inquiries after the shooting that at first was believed to have been an attempted terrorist attack, which sparked widespread security operations.
Roads were closed and IDF troops, already on alert for potential terrorist attacks, conducted extensive searches in the area with the aid of mortar flares.
The alarm was raised by a woman driver who passed the scene at the time of the shooting and who narrowly escaped being hit by the gunmen.
Abergil has reportedly been living in Arad for the past few months and had been en route to visit a site of a religious sage at the time of the shooting.
According to reports, the attackers had set up an ambush at a junction in the area and had prepared a shoulder-held LAW rocket for use, in addition to rifles and pistols.
Police in Haifa, meanwhile, have initiated intensive inquires into a shooting incident in the city's Kiryat Eliezer district late on Tuesday night.
According to reports, shots were fired from a passing motorcycle at a car driven by a 26-year-old Haifa resident whom police said had a criminal record.
The intended victim was unhurt, although police found bullet holes in his car. Police said the man was not cooperating with inquiries into the incident.
In a separate matter, also related to the apparent rise in violence, police announced that they had arrested a fourth suspect on suspicion of involvement in the recent Haifa nightclub shooting murder.