Major Crime Figure Rami Amira Gunned Down in Rishon Letzion

Rami Amira came to public prominence after the 2008 shooting of Margarita Lautin, an innocent passerby who was killed at a Bat Yam beach during a botched attempt on Amira's life.

Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich
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Yaniv Kubovich
Yaniv Kubovich

A known underworld figure was assassinated in broad daylight in Rishon Letzion yesterday, police said. The victim, identified as mobster Rami Amira, was reportedly shot down by a gunman at close range.

Amira was riding a T-Max motorcycle through the city, accompanied by an unnamed relative of his. The two stopped at a traffic light at the intersection of Hatkuma Street and Moshe Dayan Avenue, when a large motorcycle carrying two people pulled up beside them.

The passenger then took out a handgun and fired several bullets into Amira's chest.

Amira's relative tried helping, but Amira collapsed and soon died at the scene.

A passerby was lightly wounded in the shooting after one of the bullets broke the windshield of her car.

Rami Amira came to public prominence after the 2008 shooting of Margarita Lautin, an innocent passerby who was killed at a Bat Yam beach during a botched attempt on Amira's life.

But police had already been familiar with Amira for some time, ever since he was arrested for possession of firearms in Netanya 15 years ago.

Police sources told Haaretz that no one had ever taken seriously Amira's repeated claims that he did not know who was after him. Amira was a member of the Abergil crime syndicate, and was known as someone who could provide any weapon to anyone who required one - specifically matched to the type of mission planned by the customer.

He was loyal to Abergil at first, building up a reputation in the organization, especially for violent extortion.

His name has more recently been raised in the case involving Yoni Elzam, as a potential witness against the Abergil family in the investigation of mobster Hananya Ohana's murder.

Amira was never charged in the affair, but it raised his profile both in the criminal underworld and among the police, who marked him as a man to watch.

Police sources said Amira was dazzled at the time by the vast amounts he was able to extort for the syndicate, and began to freelance on the gray market at the expense of Itzik Abergil.

He managed to build a strong financial base and a reputation for violent extortion.

Abergil, who was recently turned on by a very close associate, Motti Hassin, did not take kindly to Amira's newfound independence.

When Amira and Hassin started working together, this was interpreted as a challenge to Abergil's organization.

A month and a half after the failed Bat Yam hit, an explosive device was found on Brodetsky Street in Netanya, where Amira's mother lived. Investigators believed the bomb was meant for him.

"Amira was a mobster who worked for everyone and no one," a senior police officer with close knowledge of Amira's career told Haaretz yesterday. "This is seen as a grave sin in the underworld. Amira was disliked both by mobsters and police, a lot of people did not wish him well."

When Amira realized he had become a target, he tried building alliances with other syndicates.

Most recently, he began building a relationship with the Domrani group, and also tried reconnecting with his old Netanya cronies, including Riko Shirazi.

"Amira was an extrovert," one associate of the mobster told Haaretz. "He had a lot of enemies, but he always said he didn't want bodyguards around. He would give interviews to any media organization, which was seen by other mobsters as a sign of him being unreliable. They knew he couldn't be trusted."

Amira was recently detained after police in Tel Aviv caught him shooting paint balls at passersby.

Although a gag order has been placed on the investigation, police sources believe yesterday's assassination need not necessarily be attributed to the Abergil brothers, who are awaiting trial in the United States.



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