A criminal score-settling at the heart of Tel Aviv’s bustling beachfront: Gunmen opened fire on a car driving by a busy tourism center on Saturday afternoon.
The driver of the car, Tha’ar Lala, 26, was killed on the spot. Lala, a Jaffa resident, had a long criminal record, including an arrest on murder suspicions, and convictions for violence, breaking and entering, and car theft.
The shooting occurred when Lala was driving north along the beach across from Hatachana, a bustling complex of stores and restuarants. He was overtaken by two men on a motorcycle who shot him numerous times through the window of his vehicle.
Paramedics who were stationed at the recreational center said that the man, who sustained serious wounds to his upper body, was killed on the spot.
A large contingent of police officers arrived at the scene, as did several members of the murdered man’s family.
This month alone, there have been three car bombings, two of them deadly, aimed at underworld figures, bringing back to the streets of Israeli cities the sounds of explosions that were once almost solely the hallmarks of Palestinian attacks during a 2000-2005 uprising.
Internal Defence Minister, Yitzhak Aharonovitch, described the outburst of violence as “terrorism plain and simple” during a parliamentary address on Wednesday, stepping up pressure on police to catch the culprits.
“The murder is suspected to be part of a criminal turf war ... The shooters fled the scene in a getaway vehicle,” the police said on Twitter.
A number of recent car bombs went off in residential neighbourhoods, one of them exploding at night near a kindergarten.
Last Saturday, a man was killed by an explosion in his car in south Tel Aviv. Police attribute his death to a clash between rival crime organizations active in the area. Last month, a 32-year-old Jaffa resident was shot at point blank on a central Jaffa street by two masked motorcyclists. He died of his wounds shortly thereafter.
In November a device was detonated in the vehicle of a prosecutor who dealt with high-level criminals.
Briefing parliament this week, police said explosives were widely available and relatively cheap.
Police chief Yohanan Danino said most of the explosives used by criminals came from army stockpiles.