Police arrest more crime bosses

Netanya mob war feared; police arrest Francois Abutbul on suspicion of plotting to murder arch-rival Rico Shirazi.

Netanya 311 (photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Netanya 311
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem)
Police arrested alleged underworld figure Francois Abutbul and another suspect on Wednesday on suspicion of plotting to murder his arch-rival, Rico Shirazi, in a years-long struggle for control of Netanya crime.
A police source told The Jerusalem Post that detectives from the National Serious and International Crimes Unit were looking into how close Abutbul was to carrying out his plot.
Police fear a mob war could break out in Netanya between Abutbul and Shirazi.
Earlier on Wednesday, the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court released Shirazi and Shalom Domrani, both arrested earlier this week on suspicion of plotting to kill Abutbul, on the condition that they keep out of Netanya for the coming month.
Domrani, considered by police to be the most powerful organized crime boss in southern Israel, lives in a walled, heavily secured mansion surrounded by CCTV cameras in Moshav Otzem, near Ashkelon. He has been banned by the court from leaving Otzem in the coming days.
Abutbul, the nephew of alleged senior Netanyabased underworld figure Charlie Abutbul and owner of a number of restaurants in the city, was released from prison last month after completing his sentence for assault against his estranged wife.
After being released, Abutbul received a warning that 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 Post this week.
“Abutbul was warned as soon as he got out of prison last month,” the source said.
The National Serious and International Crimes Unit is keeping close tabs of feuding mob figures, and is placing all of its resources into preempting a flare-up between the sides.
On Tuesday, alleged underworld figure Eyal Sofer was arrested on suspicion of being part of plans to harm Abutbul. In November 2010, police arrested Sofer on suspicion of attempting to kill Charlie Abutbul, though he was not charged and was released.
Mob conflicts in Netanya have resulted in shootings in public places in the past.
During the attack on September 7, Charlie Abutbul was shot at by unidentified gunmen riding on a motorcycle as he sat in a parked car with his son near the Carmel Hotel in Netanya.
No one was injured in the shooting, which was reportedly a revenge attack for a plot to have Sofer killed.
Charlie Abutbul’s son, also called Francois, is serving a life sentence for the 2004 slaying of a youth outside a nightclub.
In 2008, three civilians were hurt when a gunman walked into a Netanya kiosk and shot Charlie Abutbul repeatedly. Abutbul was seriously wounded.