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1 killed as police open fire on suspects in underworld bombing in north

Officers say they shot at motorbike ridden by two suspects fleeing scene of attack in Majd al-Krum; second suspect injured

View of the main road in the Arab-Israeli village of Majd al-Krum, near the northern Israeli city of Karmiel, on November 8, 2017 (Courtesy Hadas Parush/Flash 90)
View of the main road in the Arab-Israeli village of Majd al-Krum, near the northern Israeli city of Karmiel, on November 8, 2017 (Courtesy Hadas Parush/Flash 90)

A man was killed overnight Monday when the motorbike he and another man were riding skidded to the ground after police officers opened fire at them. The two were suspected of fleeing the scene of a bomb attack on a home in the northern Arab town of Majd al-Krum, the Israel Police said.

Police said in a statement that the attack on the home was an incident of organized crime.

According to the Abraham Initiatives, a non-government group campaigning against violence in the Arab community, the suspect was shot dead by police. In a statement, the group identified him as 17-year-old Mohammad Sha’aban.

The second suspect was lightly injured.

Police said that undercover officers from the Lahav 433 serious crime squad were staking out the area overnight following threats and a string of shooting incidents and grenade attacks targeting the Majd al-Krum home.

Officers at one point identified two armed suspects riding a motorbike with no license plates, who hurled an explosive charge at the building, police said. The explosive went off, causing a loud explosion.

“During an arrest, the officers opened fire at the pair, the motorbike skidded, and one of the suspects was critically injured,” police said.

Magen David Adom paramedics took both suspects to the Galilee Medical Center, but Sha’aban was declared dead before they arrived.

Police said they are “fighting a serious war on violence in the Arab community” and in particular “against organized crime in the north.”

“Officers sometimes need to deal with complicated and dangerous situations while striving to engage with armed criminals,” police said.

Arab communities have seen a surge in violence in recent years. Many blame the police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore the violence, which includes family feuds, mafia turf wars, and violence against women.

The Abraham Initiatives said in its statement that since the beginning of the year, 50 Arabs and Palestinians have been killed in violence or crime-related circumstances in Israel, 41 of them in shooting incidents.

According to the Ynet news site, 17 members of the Arab Israeli community were killed in violent incidents during the month of June alone.

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