Mob kingpins arrested 'for plotting murder' of rival

Organized crime suspects detained in connection with planning to kill recently released Francois Abutbul; arrest unusual due to number of people involved.

Prison jail generic (photo credit: Courtesy)
Prison jail generic
(photo credit: Courtesy)
Three underworld figures and a lower-ranking alleged “soldier” were arrested in central Israel on Sunday morning in raids described by police as aiming to disrupt a plot to assassinate alleged mob figure Francois Abutbul, who was recently released from prison.
Abutbul, the nephew of senior Netanya-based underworld figure Charlie Abutbul, and owner of a number of restaurants in the city, was released last month after completing a prison term for assaulting his estranged wife.
RELATED:Police suspect Francois Abutbul's life at riskCourt clears Alperon of assaulting police officerAfter being released, Abutbul received a warning that his Netanya rival, Rico Shirazi, together with other elements, would try to harm him if he did not stay away from Netanya and cease efforts to rebuild his power there, a law enforcement source told The Jerusalem Post.
“Abutbul was warned as soon as he got out of prison last month,” the source said.
Police maintained an undercover intelligence gathering operation aimed at tracking those who are suspected of plotting to strike at Abutbul and potentially igniting a mob war.
On Sunday, officers from the Lahav 433 anti-organized crime unit and the National Serious and International Crimes Unit arrested Shirazi, and alleged underworld figure Shalom Domrani, who is considered by police to be the most powerful organized crime boss in southern Israel.
Domrani resides in a walled, heavily secured mansion in the village of Otzem, near Ashkelon, surrounded by closed-circuit TV cameras and patrolled by security guards.
Also arrested were an unnamed “soldier” of Shirazi, and Izat Hamad, an alleged organized crime figure described by the law enforcement source as being a “rising star” in the underworld.
The suspects are due to be arraigned at the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court on Monday morning.
In November last year, police arrested alleged underworld figure Eyal Sofer on suspicion of attempting to kill Charlie Abutbul.
During the attack on September 7, Abutbul was shot at by unknown gunmen riding on a motorcycle in Netanya as he sat in a parked car with his son near the Carmel Hotel. No one was injured in the shooting. The shooting was reportedly a revenge attack for a plot to have Sofer killed in Netanya.
Charlie Abutbul’s son, also called Francois, is serving a life sentence for the 2004 slaying of a youth outside a nightclub.