A 14-year-old boy was seriously wounded Wednesday in a drive-by shooting in the Arab Israeli town of Umm al-Fahm.
Police launched a manhunt for the suspect, deploying roadblocks throughout the city.
The attack is believed to be part of a bloody ongoing feud between criminal organizations in the crime-ridden city. It is only the latest in a series of deadly attacks in recent weeks that has left the Arab community reeling and demanding action by police.
The teen was hit while sitting in his mother’s car, which was sprayed with bullets by a passing motorcyclist. Police found bullet holes dotting the car’s windshield when they arrived on the scene.
The boy was taken in serious condition to Haemek Medical Center in nearby Afula with bullets wounds in his upper torso.
A family member told Hadashot TV that the apparent targets of the attack had no part in any family or criminal disputes in the city.
“This could have ended in a double murder,” the relative said. “Neither mother nor son has any dispute with anyone. We’re all scared for our lives. We still can’t believe this happened. The mother is in shock. I hope serious steps are taken to end the violence and stop the criminals.”
The attack comes a day after a drive-by shooting across the Green Line from Umm al-Fahm left one of the city’s residents dead and two others seriously hurt. The shooting was believed linked to a fight between crime families, and was not a terror attack, according to an initial assessment by police on Tuesday.
That incident took place on Route 6536 between Umm a-Rihan in the northern West Bank and Umm al-Fahm.
Also Tuesday, Karem al-Ja’er, a 16-year-old youth from the southern Bedouin town of Rahat, succumbed to his wounds after he was shot in the head during a street brawl the previous day that involved dozens of residents. One suspect has been arrested.
On December 12, students and teachers at a high school in Umm al-Fahm witnessed a teacher’s kidnapping in broad daylight at the school entrance. Armed assailants nabbed the teacher, forcing him into their van, at 8 a.m., just as students and teachers arrived to start the school day.
After a police manhunt that included roadblocks, large numbers of officers, some of them undercover, and a helicopter, the kidnappers’ vehicle was located and cornered, and the teacher was rescued unharmed. One armed kidnapper was found in the vehicle and taken into custody.
Umm al-Fahm, which has a population of around 52,000, has been plagued by high crime rates for years, including by local organized crime.
Since the beginning of 2018, shootings in the city have claimed the lives of at least six residents, and wounded another 17.