A car has exploded near a bus in Tel Aviv, injuring several people in what police suspect was an attempt to kill the head of an alleged organised crime family.

Police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld said "the main direction of suspicion is that it was criminal".

The Magen David Adom ambulance service said seven to 10 people were injured in the blast on Menachem Begin street, a main thoroughfare.

The attack appeared to have targeted Nissim Halperon, the head of one of Israel's top organised crime families, according to Israel Radio. Halperon has already escaped seven other assassination attempts, including one last year in Tel Aviv's Ramat Gan suburb.

He did not appear to have been in the car when the bomb exploded, public radio said.

Israeli organised crime gangs have engaged in an often violent struggle over the past few years, prompting the police to create a special task force dedicated to the issue.

Source: Reuters