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Tel Aviv blast kills 3

Police: Suspected crime figure may have been targeted

Police said the blast occurred near a foreign currency exchange in Tel Aviv.
Police said the blast occurred near a foreign currency exchange in Tel Aviv.

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A large explosion ripped through a busy Tel Aviv street.
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Tel Aviv (Israel)
Currency Exchange

JERUSALEM (CNN) -- A large explosion went off Thursday in a major thoroughfare in Tel Aviv, killing three people and wounding at least 19, Israeli police said.

Police said the explosion was apparently an attempt to kill Ze'ev Rosenstein, a suspected leading figure in Israel's crime underworld. But officials added they weren't ruling out terrorism in the blast.

They said the explosion took place near a foreign currency exchange shop in a three-story building. Police and witnesses said they saw Rosenstein entering the currency exchange around the time of the blast.

Witnesses said he was among the injured.

Rosenstein, who returned to Israel on Sunday, was detained by police earlier this week in the investigation of an alleged hit involving leaders of a rival Israeli gang.

Israeli newspaper Ha'aretz reported Rosenstein, the owner of casinos in Israel and abroad, has survived at least four attempts to kill him since 1996.

If the attack was a criminal hit, it would be one of the most deadly in Israel's history.

The blast ended a period of relative calm in Israel. The last terror attack in the country killed more than 20 people in the northern city of Haifa in October.

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