Education Minister Shai Piron offered his condolences Friday to the family of Yussuf Haj Yahya, a school principal who was shot dead Monday by a masked gunman during a staff meeting at the Amal school in the central Arab-Israeli city of Taibe.

“This is an act of cruelty and it is very difficult for all of us,” Piron told the family. “I hope the police will find the killer and bring him to justice.”

President Reuven Rivlin paid a condolence call to the family on Thursday.

According to witnesses, the gunman opened fire directly on the principal, then fled the area on foot, Ynet reported.

Rabbi Shay Piron (photo credit: Nissim Lev)

Education Minister Shai Piron (photo credit: Nissim Lev)

Police said they were investigating the attack and had launched a search for the shooter.

Yahya was rushed to the nearby Meir Hospital in Kfar Saba for emergency treatment after bullets punctured his upper body. Doctors pronounced him dead a short while later.

A longtime principal at the school, Yahya had also run for mayor of Taibe in 2006.

A view of Taibe (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Illustrative photo of a view of Taibe (photo credit: Moshe Shai/Flash90)

Police said the gunman’s motives were unclear at this point.

Earlier this week, Arab-Israeli MK Ahmad Tibi, a resident of Taibe himself, condemned the murder and urged police to find the perpetrator of the attack. “This is a leading educator and a successful, local leader, whose life was cut short by a despicable murderer,” Tibi said, according to Haaretz.

“Domestic violence is a cancerous tumor in the body of all of us and we must put an end to it,” continued Tibi.

Following the murder, Taibe parents decided to postpone the opening of the school year, originally scheduled for September 1. The city municipality declared it would hold a general strike on Monday.

Demonstrations against the murder are set to take place in the city on Saturday and Monday as well, Ynet reported.