Two people were killed and one of them was burned when a car exploded on Sunday morning in southern Tel Aviv. Police sources suspect the bombing was linked to gangs responsible for assault, not terrorism.
One of the victims had a history of violence, police said. The other was known for gambling and monetization.
The preliminary investigation revealed that the blast occurred in an Audi car, which caught fire and spread to other vehicles.
The local police commander, Superintendent Dudi Malka, said at the scene that the blast was reported to the police by civilians. The team that arrived at the site found two bodies in the back seat of the vehicle.
The details are known to the police, and a more complete picture will be given later, "said Malka.
Paramedics Magen David Adom at the scene, Simcha Simandoyev and Gal Peer, said that when they arrived, the thick smoke and the two vehicles burned. As they approached, they saw two men in their 30s with no signs of life and decided they were dead on the scene, they said.
Avi Marcus, a United Hatzalah paramedic, said several people in the area were treated for anxiety.
"It was a serious explosion," Mohammed, a coffee clerk located a few meters from the site of the blast, told Haaretz. "I had my back to the counter and suddenly everything was shaking, one of the windows broke, and the people sitting outside were hit by the glass of the explosion, and part of the ceiling collapsed.
A local resident said the blast knocked out the neighborhood's electricity. "It was very powerful. It was as if something had landed all over the city," she said. "Nobody cares that this is a matter of getting the bills right. It's scary."
One of the dead is believed to be an associate of the Musli family, one of Israel's largest criminal organizations. The Muslis operate in the Greater Tel Aviv area. This particular family member spent six and a half years in prison after being convicted – with other family members – for trafficking in arms and possession of explosives in 2005. After his release, he returned to the criminal organization. Police say he has climbed high in the ranks of the organization.
The second victim, a 36-year-old woman from Tel Aviv, was known for police custody. He sat in jail for nine months on charges of extortion, for which he had expressed remorse.