A car exploded around 1.40 pm Friday in the Rishon Lezion suburb south of Tel Aviv , killing at least one person and moderately injuring two others, police and eyewitnesses say.
Six other people, including two policemen, were treated for light injuries and shock, Magen David Adom paramedics said. Among those lightly injured are a 10-year-old boy and a toddler.
Firefighters inspect the wreckage (Photo: Yaron Brenner)
Police said the explosion was a criminal act and was not a politically motivated bombing.
The man killed in the blast has been named as Yossi Afriat, a criminal associated with the Abrajil crime family. Police sources say earlier attempts have been made on Ariat's life through shooting attacks.
"I can confirm the background to the attack was criminal," Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.
Police chief Moshe Karadi, who visited the scene of the attack, was updated by officers about measures taken to track the perpetrators.
A blue Israeli ID was found on the scene of the attack but police are yet to reveal the identity of its owner.
Smoke billows from Rishon Lezion city center (Photo: Tobi Levis)
After the attack police raised the level of alert in major cities and in communities close to the Palestinian territories.
Noa Yitzhaki, a 19-year-old soldier, told Ynet: "I heard a loud explosion as I was home. Herzl Street was full of ambulances and traffic stopped as I looked out of the window."
Sasha, a resident of the suburb, said: "I saw very large flames and black smoke billowing from the car as more explosions were heard."