Man Shot in Broad Day Light Near Club in TA Center

An unknown gunman shot a man outside a night club in Tel Aviv yesterday morning, moderately wounding the victim in what police believe was a gang-related shooting.

Witnesses said the victim, Hittam Aabedin, 30, parked his car near the Culture Club nightclub on Ha'arbaa Street in the center of Tel Aviv where an afterhours party was being held around 10 A.M. As the victim walked toward the club with friends, witnesses said a speeding Mazda-type car stopped a few meters from the group. A gunman reportedly exited the vehicle, shooting the victim several times before re-entering the car and fleeing.

"It was amazing," one of the nightclub employees said. "We saw the Mazda approach and one of the people in it just opened fire on the guy, then got back in his car and sped off toward Ibn Gvirol Street."

Police said that after the shooting, Aabedin, a resident of Haifa with a criminal record, was brought into the club by his friends while security guards called police. He was later transported for treatment to Sourasky Medical Center in Tel Aviv by a Magen David Adom ambulance. Aabedin was only recently paroled from jail after one-third of his sentence was reduced due to good behavior, according to officials.

Following the shooting, Officer Moti Levi led a police investigation in which witnesses were questioned and evidence was taken from the victim's car and the surrounding area.

Police suspect the gunman, along with accomplices, had been following the victim in their vehicle for at least an hour prior to the shooting. So far, no arrests have been reported.

Police have recently increased efforts to clamp down on organized crime after a spike in shootings between rival gangs. The police initiative began after Margarita Lautin, 31, was shot and killed while dining on the Bat Yam boardwalk with her husband and two children, aged 5 and 2, when two gunmen tried to assassinate a crime boss dining nearby.