A school principal was shot dead Monday by a masked gunman during a staff meeting at the Amal school in the central Arab-Israeli city of Taibe.

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

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 in 2006 also run for mayor in Taibe.

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