Israeli underworld figure Francois Abutbul, who was gunned Saturday night in a Coastal Highway gas station, was laid to rest Sunday at Netanya's Vatikim Cemetery.
Police forces in the Netanya were on high alert ahead and throughout the funeral service, which was attended by hundreds. Abutbul was buried next to his father, Felix, who was gunned down himself in 2002, in Prague.
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The police believe Abutbul was the victim of a professional hit, ordered by one of his underworld rivals.
The Abutbul family seems to share the notion and standing over the grave, they vowed to avenge their slain relative. The responsible party, one of them said, "Will pay for this crime by the end of the week, God willing," to which the crowd mumbled "Amen."
Initial details released from the investigation suggest that after entering the gas station and stopping by one of the pumps, a gunman rode up to the driver's side of Abutbul's vehicle on a motorcycle, opened fire and then fled the scene.
Abutbul suffered mortal wounds and was pronounced dead shortly afterwards at the Laniado Hospital in Netanya.
Crime wars renewed? The funeral (Photo: Ido Erez)
The investigation into Abutbul's murder is headed by the International Fraud Unit. Investigators asked to autopsy the body, but the family initially refused.
A court-brokered compromise was later reached, and the family agreed to have the medical examiner at the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine remove bullets from the body.
Head of the Abutbul crime syndicate Assi Abutbul received the news of the his brother's murder in prison, where he is serving a 13-year sentence for heading a crime syndicate and a slew of racketeering offences, including extortion, arson, unlawful imprisonment and financial crimes.
Assi Abutbul's motion for temporary compassionate leave to attend the funereal was rejected by the police and the Israel Prison Service. The IPS is currently reviewing ways to allow Abutbul to attend his brother's shivah.
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