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The Magen David Adom ambulance crew that arrived at the scene of an accident late Monday night on Levi Eshkol Street in Be'er Sheva, where a car had reportedly hit a pole, were shocked to find the body of Eli Uzan in the vehicle. Uzan was a former player on the Hapoel Be'er Sheva soccer team.

It was unclear to police investigators who later arrived whether they were at the scene of a murder or an accident. Not far from the scene, police discovered a weapon cartridge they believe belonged to Uzan's murderer.

A preliminary investigation of the scene and an examination of Uzan's body indicated that the collision with the pole did not cause the 46-year-old soccer player's death. Commander Yoram Sofer of the Be'er Sheva police department said yesterday that the initial report of an accident came in around midnight, but it became immediately clear that the incident involved a criminal act. The police do not yet have any suspects in the case.

Investigators believe Uzan may have been shot in the neck at very close range. His body was sent to the Abu Kabir Institute of Forensic Medicine in Tel Aviv.

Uzan had allegedly been involved in a gambling operation in Be'er Sheva in addition to gray market loans, which police sources surmised may have been a factor in his death. Uzan's name had also been linked in the past to illegal gambling operations in Be'er Sheva run by the family of Yaniv Zaguri.