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Bomb blasts in Israel and assault rifles in South Africa – cops swoop on ‘most wanted Israeli gang boss’ in Joburg

Bomb blasts in Israel and assault rifles in South Africa – cops swoop on ‘most wanted Israeli gang boss’ in Joburg
Police and members of the media outside the Bryanston, Joburg, house on 17 November 2022. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

In August reports surfaced that a suspected Israeli crime head, based in South Africa, was arrested in his home country. Now cops have detained an alleged Israeli gang boss in Gauteng. This all points to deep Israeli crime group activities in this country.

An explosive device fitted beneath a vehicle detonated in Israel roughly 19 years ago – five people were injured yet somehow survived.

In that same period, a second similar device targeting the same victim was placed on top of a vehicle. Three people were injured.

Those double blasts nearly two decades ago in Israel have now contributed to a string of arrests carried out at a home in Bryanston, Johannesburg, on Thursday, 17 November.

The latest arrests come after another Israeli crime suspect, Yossi Moslie (also spelled Mosli and Mosley), was reportedly arrested in August while in his home country on a visit there from South Africa.

A Jerusalem Post report at the time said: “Mosley is suspected of trying to blackmail Jewish businessmen living in South Africa who specialise in the field of cryptocurrency.”

Claims were also made about a stun grenade being used on a target.

Police prepare to transport a 46-year-old Israeli fugitive in Bryanston, Johannesburg, who has been on Interpol’s red notice since 2015. He was arrested with several others, allegedly linked to a notorious crime organisation in Israel. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

The front gate was run over by police in the early-morning raid in Bryanston. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

Workers repair a gate after it was rammed by a police Nyala in a raid to swoop down on a 46-year-old Israeli fugitive in Bryanston, Johannesburg, who has been on Interpol’s red notice since 2015. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

In another article relating to a murder and attempted murder case, the publication quoted Moslie as saying: “It’s all conspiracies. I have no conflict with anyone.”

Daily Maverick repeatedly asked the South African Police Service (SAPS) about the Moslie case in August and September 2022 but received no response.

From Israel to around the world

The cases in Israel and South Africa point to organised crime extending from the former to the latter and further afield.

In the latest crackdown on Thursday, national police spokesperson Colonel Athlenda Mathe confirmed the arrest of a suspected Israeli gang leader, who was also a wanted fugitive, and seven others.

She said the suspected leader was “attached to a criminal organisation in Israel called the ‘Abergil Organisation’”.

At the start of July 2022 the Organized Crime and Corruption Reporting Project published an article saying that Yitzhak “Itzik” Abergil, who headed the “so-called Abergil crime family”, was sentenced in Israel to three life terms plus 15 years in jail for drug trafficking and murder.

According to a 2012 statement by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), a suspect named Itzhak Abergil (it was not immediately clear if this was the same person sentenced in Israel in 2022) “was the leader of the Abergil crime family and used the power and influence of the Abergil family to conduct criminal activities in Israel and around the world”.

Police prepare to load seized motorcycles and vehicles in Bryanston, Johannesburg, following the arrest of a 46-year-old Israeli fugitive on 17 November 2022. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

Police barrier tape blocks access to the street in Bryanston on 17 November 2022. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

On Thursday, Mathe said the suspected Israeli gang kingpin arrested in Bryanston and allegedly linked to the Abergil group “has been on Interpol’s Red Notice from 2015”.

A red notice is an international request for authorities to arrest a listed figure pending their extradition or surrender.

Drugs, bomb blasts and assault rifles

Mathe said the alleged kingpin as “a wanted suspect in Israel for conspiracy to commit murder and attempted murder”.

“According to Israeli authorities, the suspect is part of a notorious gang dealing in drug trafficking, extortion and other criminal activities.”

The conspiracy and attempted murder charges related to the two bomb blasts carried out in Israel in 2003 and 2004.

Read in Daily Maverick: “Crackdown — Suspected global cocaine smugglers arrested in SA in joint US-Australia ‘underworld hack’ swoop

“In 2003 and 2004, this wanted suspect allegedly placed an explosive bomb underneath a vehicle of a man in Israel in two separate incidents. As a result of the first explosion, five people sustained serious injuries but all miraculously survived.

“In the second incident, the suspect also attempted to do the same with the same victim, where he placed a bomb on top of a vehicle. In this incident, three people also sustained serious injuries.”

Visit Daily Maverick’s home page for more news, analysis and investigations

Mathe said that during Thursday’s crackdown in Bryanston, all eight arrested suspects were discovered in the same house, and 12 firearms, five assault rifles, seven pistols, $40,000 and three suspected stolen motorcycles were confiscated.

US links

Aside from being on South Africa’s radar, the Abergil Organisation has been the focus of US authorities.

In May 2012 the FBI said Itzhak Abergil, who had been extradited to Israel the previous year, pleaded guilty “to charges including racketeering conspiracy to commit extortion and murder and conspiracy to import ecstasy into the United States”.

Those charges stemmed from 2008.

Ahead of Itzhak Abergil’s 2012 guilty plea in the US, his brother, Meir Abergil, also from Israel, “was convicted in federal court of one count of extortion for making threats against individuals in the United States and Israel in an effort to collect $1,350,000”.

Read in Daily Maverick: “South Africa’s organised crime climbs to Italy’s levels, racing past Mexico, Somalia and Libya

According to the FBI, Meir Abergil was sentenced to 36 months in custody, including time already served in Israel, in August 2011.

US authorities subsequently sent him back to Israel.

Looping back to South Africa

The other case apparently involving Israeli crime suspects and South Africa circles back to Yossi Moslie.

Daily Maverick previously and repeatedly asked the SAPS for information about his reported arrest in Israel, since media there reported that he was based in South Africa and allegedly extorting businesspeople from this country.

The SAPS had not responded.

A policeman allows a police vehicle to pass following the raid that resulted in a number of arrests in Bryanston on 17 November 2022. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

Police prepare to load seized motorcycles and vehicles in Bryanston, Johannesburg, following the arrest of a 46-year-old Israeli fugitive on 17 November 2022. (Photo: Shiraaz Mohamed)

Daily Maverick has established that there are links between South Africa and a previous suspect reported to be Yossi Moslie’s brother.

In 2015 it was reported on a South African government website that Shay Moslie had been arrested at Montecasino in Johannesburg.

National police spokesperson at the time, Vish Naidoo, said: “He had been evading Israeli authorities since he allegedly committed the crimes in 2012, then later fled to South Africa. The Israeli authorities had requested the assistance of the SAPS.”

Three years after his arrest, in 2018, it was reported that Israel had withdrawn its extradition case against Shay Mosley. DM

Caryn Dolley has spent years tracing the footprints of drug kingpins from across the world. In her latest book, Clash of the Cartels, Dolley provides unprecedented insight into how specific drug cartels and syndicates have operated via South Africa, becoming embroiled in deadly violence in the country and bolstering local criminal networks. Available from the Daily Maverick Shop here.


Comments - Please in order to comment.

  • jcdville stormers says:

    How many years back has their been crime links between SA and Israel?

  • virginia crawford says:

    How did he get into South Africa and live here for 15 years? How did he buy a house for a few million and avoid any scrutiny from the banks or SARS? Good that he has been arrested but many questions remain and let’s see what happens next? Bail?

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