Car bomb explodes in Tel Aviv

Police suspect bombing was attempt to kill alleged criminal kingpin.

JERUSALEM // A car exploded near a bus in Tel Aviv on Thursday, injuring several people in what police suspect was an attempt to kill an alleged criminal kingpin.

Israel Radio said the car belonged to the head of an alleged organised crime family.

"The main direction of suspicion is it was criminal," police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said.

The ambulance service said several people were injured in the blast on Menachem Begin Street, a main thoroughfare.

"There was a fire and I heard an explosion," a witness said on Israel Radio as ambulance and police vehicle sirens screamed in the background.

Ynet news Web site quoted witnesses as saying they saw an assailant on a motorcycle planting an explosive on the vehicle.

The last bombing in Tel Aviv, Israel's business hub, wounded 15 people on November 21, during an eight-day military campaign against Hamas Islamist militants in the Gaza Strip. An Israeli Arab citizen was charged in court with carrying out that attack on Hamas's behalf.