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Two Border Police detachments will be deployed in Ashdod following several incidents in which grenades were thrown at the homes of senior municipal officials, the commander of the Israel Police's Southern District, Yohanan Danino, said yesterday.

"The police intend to catch the perpetrators and give Ashdod officials a feeling of security," Danino said.

A fragmentation grenade was thrown at Ashdod Mayor Yehiel Lasri's home about a week and a half ago. It landed in the yard, slightly damaging the house. Bodyguards were assigned to the mayor after the incident and armed guards now patrol his house.

Three days ago, a stun grenade was thrown at the home of Gabi Knafo, the city council's coalition chairman and Lasri's confidant. The next day, a dummy grenade was placed near the building where city manager Ilan Ben Ami lives.

Ofer Buchnik, a local entrepreneur embroiled in a land dispute with the municipality, was arrested on suspicion of throwing the grenade at Lasri's house. However, he denied any connection to the affair.

Ashdod officials believe the grenade attacks were triggered by changes Lasri made in the city's hiring of local contractors.

"Apparently the new mayor's plans to enact reforms and enforce order in the city aren't to some criminals' liking," Danino said.