An Israeli man and his daughter were found dead in their apartment in Mexico City on Friday. It appears they were killed in the course of an attempted robbery.

Local police sources said the bodies of Moises Aruh, 60, and his daughter, Sapir, in her 20s, showed signs of violence indicating they had attempted to fight off their assailants.

A police spokesman said the bodies were found by Aruh's eldest son, whose 12-year-old sister had called him after no one answered the doorbell when she returned home in the evening. The victims were found in different rooms of the apartment.

Based on evidence found at the scene, investigators believe the assailants attacked the father and daughter on the street near the entrance to their building and forced them to enter the apartment, murdering them after a struggle. One of the suspects is the family's driver, who has disappeared since the killings.

The deaths of the father and daughter are not the first tragedy in the family. Several years ago, Moises Aruh's wife was killed in a car accident in Mexico and since then Aruh had been raising the couple's children alone.

In addition to the murdered daughter, Sapir, and the 12-year-old daughter, the couple had an older son and daughter. That daughter, Ortal, is a policewoman who lives in Israel. She recently worked undercover for eight months on a case that resulted in the arrests of 30 suspected drug dealers.

Aruh family relatives in Israel and police sources both discount the possibility that the two cases are linked.

Reacting to the double murder, a family friend named Gavriel, an Israeli businessman who used to live in Mexico and asked that he not be identified by last name, said: "This is a very tragic story. It's as if a sledgehammer landed on my head."

After his wife died, Gavriel said, Moises Aruh moved back to Israel to raise their children. But after encountering a range of problems, the family returned to Mexico.

For months ago, Aruh was arrested after attempting to leave Israel on forged documents; he had been barred from exiting the country after amassing hundreds of thousands of shekels of debt. He had been in Israel at the time to visit his mother, who was ill. Aruh was subsequently convicted by the Rishon Letzion Magistrate's Court of charges that included use of a forged document. He admitted at the time that he'd obtained the phony document so that he could leave the country.

A witness, said to be a friend of Aruh's, told the court at the time that Aruh was a devoted father who broke the law so that he could return to his younger daughters, who had been left in Mexico alone. The judge took the fact that Aruh expressed remorse for his actions and that he had no criminal record in Israel into consideration, as well as his family's situation, and let him off with a fine.