Nehariya police - Eliyahu Hershkowitz
Nehariya policemen being released from Shikma Prison, Sunday April 17, 2011. Photo by Eliyahu Hershkowitz
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The four former police detectives dubbed by the press as "the vigilantes" have been licensed to carry personal weapons again, after one of them, Eldad Hadad, was the victim of an assassination attempt last week.

The four - Eldad Hadad, Yossi Levi, Yaniv Asur and Rami Mousa - were convicted of placing bombs in the vicinity of reputed Nahariya mobster Michael Mor. They were stripped of their weapon licenses, fired from the police and received jail sentences, but were released a few months ago for good behavior. The former detectives were given protection, but were not, until the attempt on Hadad's life, permitted to carry their own handguns. The licenses were renewed through the direct involvement of Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch.

Levi told Haaretz the decision was quick, brave, and sent a signal of support for the former policemen and their families. He said personal handguns were not the solution for the threats the four were facing, but that this was an important part of the overall security arrangements. Levi said the four of them will have to buy the weapons at their own expense, since police will not give them back their old police-issue handguns. They will still retain personal bodyguards and other security measures, he added.

Earlier this week, Aharonovitch met with Attorney General Yehuda Weinstein to look into the possibility of rehiring the four. Aharonovitch's move to have them rejoin the force ran into legal obstacles, as they were convicted of offenses that carried moral turpitude.

Hadad, who took several bullets to the thigh, was described yesterday as being in "stable" condition at the Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya. The hospital said the rehabilitation process is expected to be long. Hadad is guarded around the clock by police.