Two killed in Rishon Lezion underworld car bombing

Unclear if explosion was an intentional hit or if the bomb went off by mistake in a "work accident."

car370 (photo credit: Courtesy ZAKA)
(photo credit: Courtesy ZAKA)
A car bomb killed two men in central Rishon Lezion on Thursday morning, the latest of several criminal explosions in the central region in the past few months.
It was unclear whether the men died in a mob hit, or whether they were transporting a bomb that went off prematurely – what police refer to as “a work accident.”
Hours after the explosion, police named the dead men as Shmulik David, 28, from Modi’in, and Alex Lerner, 24, from Rishon Lezion.
Both were known to be members of a local criminal organization.
Police detained three suspects in connection to the incident, including one who was detained near the scene of the explosion. By midafternoon, officers had obtained a sweeping gag order restricting the reporting of almost every aspect of the investigation, which the YAMAR central investigative unit will handle in conjunction with the Lahav 433 National Crime Unit.
The explosion took place on Yekinton Street near the Rishon Lezion Magistrate’s Court, where the Mazda was parked in the parking lot of a residential tower. The bomb exploded shortly after the two men entered the car, and before it began moving, witnesses said.
Pictures released afterward appear to indicate that one man was sitting in the back seat behind the driver when the car blew up.
For two years, rival members of the Abergil crime family and other organizations from west and east Rishon Lezion have waged a gang war over control of gambling and extortion rackets in the city. Several people have died in the fight in recent years, though up until now they have been innocent bystanders.
On January 10, in central Tel Aviv, reputed mob boss Nissim Alperon fled from his car moments before a bomb that a motorcyclist had planted on its side exploded.
On February 9, brothers Shaul and Yaniv Peretz were wounded in south Tel Aviv’s Tel Kabir neighborhood when their car exploded while parked next to a kiosk.
That explosion is also under investigation as a likely “work accident.”