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Handcuffs arrest police crime illustrative 390.(Photo by: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Cops target rival gangs battling in central Israel
Police detain 5 members of Ben Moshe's Tel Aviv gang after a nearly fatal case of mistaken identity in a shootout and car chase.
A nearly fatal case of mistaken identity in a shootout and car chase in Petah Tikva in January led police to launch an investigation against two rival gangs from Tel Aviv and Petah Tikva that went head to head over recent months in a feud that police feared would any day take a civilian toll.

A gag order on the investigation was lifted on Monday, when the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court extended by two days the remands of five members of a Tel Aviv- and Jaffa-based crew headed by Moshe Ben-Moshe, which police say has spent the past 10 months embroiled in a feud with a Petah Tikvabased gang.

Both gangs are involved in drugs and arms dealing, and began feuding over “issues of honor,” according to Chief Inspector Nissim Dawudi, deputy head of the Lev Tel Aviv precinct.

The five men were first brought to court last Thursday morning, after they were arrested earlier in the morning.

In addition to Moshe Ben-Moshe, they include Ben-Moshe’s brother Ayal Ben-Moshe, Aharon Levy, Shmuel Alfendari, and Rahamim Borochov.

Dawudi said that over the past 10 months the feud has been fought with a series of shootings, bombings and molotov cocktail attacks, and would have eventually taken a deadly toll if allowed to continue.

The Tel Aviv branch of the YAMAR central investigative unit began actively investigating the gang on January 23, after a case of mistaken identity almost cost two innocent civilians their lives.

Dawudi described how on that day, several members of Ben Moshe’s gang were casing a house belonging to the rival gang, when they saw two men drive by them on motorcycles. The men were of approximately the same height as their rivals, so they began to give chase, Dawudi said, tearing after the two motorcyclists with the intent of running them over and making the accident look like a hit-and-run.

The two motorcyclists realized they were being followed and stopped and faced the mobsters, pulling off their helmets to show they weren’t the men they were looking for.

Dawudi said Ben Moshe’s gang immediately went back to stalking their rivals, posting up in cars with binoculars and casing the walkways their rivals took to synagogue or to work, waiting to gun them down.

By Thursday evening, police had built a profile of Ben Moshe’s organization and identified five central suspects they said were involved in planning a series of failed mob hits.

“We’re certain that we managed to stop a number of murders through this investigation,” Dawudi said Monday.

The rival gang is headed by Oz Soref and Victor “Vivi” Atias, neither of which have been arrested as part of the investigation.
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