Four people have been arrested over the past several weeks by detectives from the Jerusalem District's Central Unit over an alleged plot to detonate an explosive charge in central Israel. The details of the case were cleared for publication on Monday.
According to the police, a Jerusalem crime organization was apparently seeking to target a member of the prominent Abarjil crime family. One of the suspects taken into custody is a fire marshal.
The investigation began in late February. Acting on intelligence information obtained by the Central Unit, police arrested 52-year-old Avi Elimelech in Tel Aviv on February 27th. Elimelech, who has previous drug offenses, was pulled over on Highway 1, en route from Jerusalem to Tel Aviv. A mid-sized explosive charge was found under the seat of his car.
'A mid-sized charge' (Photo courtesy the Jerusalem District Police)
Elimelech was arrested taken for questioning by Jerusalem police, but he has so far refused to cooperate with the investigation.
Major-General Avi Roif, who heads the Central Unit, said the detonation of the charge could have proved deadly,
Immediately after the arrest police carried out another search, this time at the firehouse in the Jerusalem
neighborhood of Givat Mordechai, where detectives believe the charge had been concealed for several days.
This led to the arrest of Moshe Lily, a fire marshal and course commander at the school for firefighters in Rishon LeZion. Lily denies any connection to the bomb, but Commander Roif says that investigators have evidence that the fire marshal agreed to hold the charge for several days. In return, his gray market debt (estimates at tens of thousands of shekels), would be expunged.
Two additional members of the Jerusalem crime organization were arrested last week, and the city's Magistrate's Court extended their arrest, and that of Elimelech and Lily, by nine days.