MEXICO CITY – The killings of two Israeli men were connected to criminal organizations based in the Middle Eastern country, the Mexico City district attorney’s office said on Thursday.
The victims were fatally shot Wednesday at the Artz Pedregal shopping mall.
What authorities originally thought was a crime of passion looks more like “a settling of scores with the Israeli mafia,” DA office spokesman Ulises Lara told a press conference.
The double-murder was “a concerted action,” he said.
The Israeli Embassy in Mexico identified the murdered men as Alon Azulay, 41, and Benjamin Yeshurun, 44, and said that both had criminal records in Israel and the Aztec nation.
Israeli diplomats are working to repatriate the victims’ bodies to Israel.
A woman arrested at the scene, identified only as Esperanza N, initially told police the killings were motivated by an interpersonal dispute, but subsequently changed her story.
Video from security cameras at Artz Pedregal showed two people with heavy-caliber guns menacing guards at the mall entrance. The assailants injured one of the guards before fleeing in a vehicle.
The capital’s public safety secretary, Jesus Orta, said Thursday that tracking down the two armed assailants is a priority.
“We established a perimeter, we have significant information and we are pursuing that. That is our priority right now,” he said, exhibiting a reluctance to join prosecutors in attributing the murders to underworld strife.
“Everything points to questions more complicated than that,” Orta said, asking the public for patience.
The Jerusalem Post reported that one of the slain men was released from an Israeli prison about six months ago, while the other fled Israel in 2001.