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The Israel Police major crimes unit is on high alert, suspecting that the country's crime families are on the brink of a wave of mob murders.

In the past week, the unit has arrested four of Israel's top criminal underworld figures, with the raids being a response to power struggles that have ensued since Francois Abutbul's release from prison.

At the start of the week, two gang leaders, Rico Shirazi and Shalom Domrani, were arrested on suspicion of conspiring to murder Abutbul.

Yesterday, Abutbul was detained, on suspicion of plotting to kill Shirazi.

A few hours after Abutbul's arrest, the major crimes unit also detained Yossi Hariri, the head of the Hariri crime family in the north, on suspicion that he conspired with Shirazi to kill Abutbul. Hariri was released to house arrest after questioning.

Police sources believe that Abutbul's release from prison a month ago, after he served 22 months for assaulting his wife, is liable to set off power struggles between crime organizations for control of businesses in Netanya.

Upon his release, Abutbul was advised that his enemies are out to get him.