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2 cousins shot to death in northern Arab town

Investigation opened into suspected double murder in Deir al-Asad, in which 2 children also hurt; man killed in separate shooting

Police officers and onlookers at the scene of a deadly shooting in the northern town of Deir al-Asad, April 9, 2021. (Israel Police)
Police officers and onlookers at the scene of a deadly shooting in the northern town of Deir al-Asad, April 9, 2021. (Israel Police)

Police on Friday opened a double murder investigation after two men from a northern Arab town died of gunshot wounds.

The Deir al-Asad residents, aged 23 and 26, were taken to Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya after being critically wounded in a shooting. They were pronounced dead shortly after arriving at the hospital.

The two were named by the Kan public broadcaster as cousins Ali and Hafez Nasallah.

A pair of children from Deir al-Asad were also hurt in the shooting. One of them, a 13-year-old, was in moderate condition, with the hospital saying he would likely be operated on in the coming hours. The other boy, 10, was lightly hurt.

Police said officers were operating in the area and that the shooting appeared linked to a feud between families.

Earlier, a 21-year-old resident of Ibtin, a Bedouin village in the north, was shot dead in his yard.

Police opened an investigation and said officers were sent to Ibtin “to maintain public order and the security of the residents.”

There were no reports of arrests in either of Friday’s shootings.

Police at the scene of a shooting in the northern Bedouin town of Ibtin, April 9, 2021. (Israel Police)

Arab cities and towns have seen a surge in violence in recent years, with organized crime seen as the main driver.

Arab Israelis blame the police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations.

In 2020, 96 Arab Israelis were killed, by far the highest annual toll in recent memory.

More than 90 percent of shootings in Israel last year took place in Arab communities, according to police. Arab Israelis account for around one-fifth of the country’s population.

According to the Ynet news site, 28 Arabs have been killed violently inside Israel since 2021 began.

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