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Crime boss indicted over murder of state witness’s ex-wife

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The head of a major crime organization was indicted Thursday, along with several accomplices, for the murder of the ex-wife of a state’s witness, who was killed in front of her three young children on Beersheba’s Jerusalem Boulevard on March 7, 2016.

In addition to the indictment for the killing of Devorah Hirsch, 30, Yaniv Zaguri and his accomplices were indicted in December for the 2017 murder of Tal Korkus, Zaguri’s former right-hand man and Hirsch’s ex-husband, who gave testimony against the crime boss in 2008 that led to him serving seven years in jail.

As stated by the indictment, served in the Beersheba District Court, as soon as he left prison, Zaguri started plotting to murder Hirsch, Korkus, and Korkus’s parents, who had supported his decision to testify against the crime boss.

As stated by the indictment, Zaguri contacted Hirsch’s brother-in-law, who is now a witness for the prosecution and referred to in the indictment by his Hebrew initial “Mem.” The crime boss threatened him, holding a gun to his head. Zaguri said he was planning on killing Hirsch and demanded a payment of NIS 500,000 ($137,000), which he said was his lawyer’s fee in the earlier case.

Former organized crime member Tal Korkus in 2016. (Screen capture: Channel 10)

Mem said he didn’t have that amount of money, so instead agreed to help Zaguri kill Korkus and his parents, the indictment said. In this way Zaguri obtained the addresses of his victims, scouted out the homes along with Mem and got a list of houses nearby with security cameras.

As stated by the prosecution, Mem also met with Zaguri’s accomplice, Moshe Rubin, and together they planned how Mem could kill Korkus as soon as he was freed from prison.

The indictment stated that Mem agreed to pay Zaguri NIS 300,000 ($82,300) to spare Hirsch’s life. Nevertheless, even after receiving the money, the indictment said Zaguri persisted in his plan to kill Hirsch.

In 2016, Zaguri suspected that Hirsch had restarted her relationship with Korkus and became enraged, the indictment said. In an attempt to mollify him, Mem suggested that Zaguri meet with Hirsch so she could deny the suspicion.

Mem set up two meetings in a restaurant, but each time Zaguri canceled, saying the location was too public.

Then Mem set up a meeting in a parking lot near Hirsch’s house, the prosecution said. To assuage her fears that it was a setup, Mem told Hirsch to bring along her daughter.

However, the prosecution said, Zaguri never intended to meet Hirsch. He instead instructed Rubin and another accused accomplice, Amir Ben Shimol, to kill her as she waited for him to arrive.

Hirsch arrived in her car with three children, aged 3, 6, and 8, in the back.

As stated by the indictment, Ben Shimol approached the vehicle and shot Hirsch through the window five times, then fled back to the getaway car, where Rubin was waiting.

Michael Mor at the Beersheba District Court, December 18, 2017. (Flash90)

Hirsch was taken to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center in critical condition in the minutes following the shooting, but died of her wounds in the hospital.

Korkus was killed in June 2017 when a bomb exploded under his car in Ashkelon. As stated by the indictment, Zaguri ordered the hit, while Michael Mor, another underworld figure, allegedly provided the explosive device.

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