Police: Assassination Attempt on Key Witness in Ashdod Port Case

Motorcyclist let loose hail of gunfire at a reinforced vehicle in Kfar Sava, but the occupants were unhurt.

Moti Milrod

A motorcyclist shot at a vehicle from close range in Kfar Sava Tuesday, in what Israel Police suspect was an attempt to assassinate a key witness in the case of Alon Hassan, the suspended head of the Ashdod Port workers’ union. The motorcyclist drove right up to the car door and opened fire. Eyewitnesses said at least eight shots were fired, but the reinforced car’s passengers were unharmed.

Police officials think there is a link between the shooting and the suspicion that the target was someone involved in the investigation of Hassan, who could be a key witness against him. Due to the sensitivity of the matter, the police’s Lahav 433 crime-fighting unit, which is also investigating the Hassan affair, was placed in charge of the investigation.

Hassan was questioned last May on suspicion of using corrupt means to advance his private business interests at Ashdod Port, as well as for allegedly accepting money to advance other people’s business interests while concealing the source of the funds he received as part of these deals. He was questioned on suspicion of extortion, bribery, money laundering, fraud and breach of trust.

A 2013 Haaretz investigative report revealed that over the previous two years, David Hassan, Alon Hassan’s cousin, and his business partner Yaniv Belter approached companies that were having trouble with their work at the port, mainly in terms of environmental enforcement regulations, and offered “to solve the problems” in return for payment to his company, the Dana Port seaport logistics firm, for its services. This was in addition to the controversial “arrangement” Hassan reached with an Environmental Protection Ministry port inspector, who was subsequently suspended.