One killed, one hurt in Ashkelon blast

Bomb planted on victim's motorcycle in apparent criminal hit; 8 suffer shock.

jp.services1 (photo credit: )
(photo credit: )
After a brief respite, the underworld violence for which Israel is fast becoming infamous returned to the streets of two urban centers Wednesday. In the late morning, a bomb was detonated on a busy Ashkelon street and in the afternoon, police were scambled to defuse an explosive device in Ra'anana. One person was killed and another seriously wounded in an explosion outside an Ashkelon apartment building on Wednesday, which police believe was criminally related. Passers-by initially reported to police that a Kassam had fallen, but further investigation indicated that a bomb had been placed on a motorcycle belonging to the victim, Arik Korkus, 33, with the apparent aim of assassinating him. Korkus and a second man had come to the area to visit a local rabbi, whose apartment was located above the street where the explosion took place. When Korkus mounted the bike, the device detonated. Korkus, who was killed immediately in the blast, was a notorious Ashkelon criminal. The second man was critically wounded, with multiple shrapnel-related injuries. Eight other bystanders were treated for shock. The seriously wounded man was evacuated to the city's Barzilai Hospital and police said that he too was a well-known criminal. He is currently hospitalized under heavy police guard for fear that the same rival criminals who targeted Korkus might come back to finish the job. At least once before - in 1996 - another known criminal, Pinhas Buhbout, who was also active in the Ashkelon area, was murdered in Tel Hashomer Hospital after also barely surviving a hit attempt. But Ashkelon residents were not alone Wednesday in suffering the consequences of gang warfare. An explosive device was discovered in the afternoon under a vehicle belonging to Elad and Dror Alperon, the sons of prominent underworld figure Ya'akov Alperon. It was Elad who discovered the suspicious package placed under the driver's seat and alerted his father, who then alerted the police. The residential Ra'anana street was closed while police bomb squads defused the package.