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2 men shot dead in separate killings in Israel’s Arab community

37-year-old Khaled az-Zawi and 42-year-old Ahmad Amash killed by unknown gunmen on Wednesday night in Acre and Jisr az-Zarqa; another man seriously wounded on Thursday in Shfaram

Khaled az-Zawi (left) and Ahmad Amash (right). (Courtesy)
Khaled az-Zawi (left) and Ahmad Amash (right). (Courtesy)

Two men were shot dead in apparent homicides in the Arab community in northern Israel on Wednesday night.

In the city of Acre, 38-year-old Khaled az-Zawi was shot and critically wounded by an unknown gunman, police said. Medics took him to the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariyya, where he was pronounced dead a short while later.

The shooting was carried out at a coffee shop in the Old City of Acre, according to Hebrew-language media reports. Az-Zawi was a local resident and a father of three.

Later on Wednesday, in the town of Jisr az-Zarqa, 42-year-old Ahmad Amash was shot by an unknown assailant. Amash was taken to Hadera’s Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead by medical staff.

Police said that they had opened investigations into both incidents.

In a separate shooting on Wednesday in Acre, a 42-year-old man was moderately hurt. Police on Thursday said it had arrested two men in their 20s over the attack.

On Thursday, a 54-year-old man was seriously hurt when a gunman opened fire toward a supermarket in the northern town of Shfaram. He was taken to Haifa’s Rambam Health Care Campus for treatment.

Officers are seen at the scene of the suspected murder in Acre, on September 15, 2021. (Israel Police)

Police said that the gunman opened fire from a motorcycle and fled from the scene, and that officers were carrying out searches for the suspect.

Security camera footage of the attack showed the gunman and an accomplice drive into the supermarket’s loading bay. The attacker then disembarked from the vehicle, opened fire toward a number of people, before jumping back on the motorcycle and fleeing the scene.

Security camera footage shows the shooting in Shfaram, September 16, 2021. (Video screenshot)

Seventy-one Arab Israelis have been killed in apparent criminal homicides this year, according to the Abraham Initiatives nonprofit. Arab cities and towns have seen a surge in violence in recent years, with organized crime seen as the main driver. Another 15 Palestinians were killed inside Israeli territory.

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

Arab Israelis blame the police, which 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. According to a 2020 Knesset report, some 400,000 illegal weapons are circulating in Israel, the vast majority in Arab communities.

In July, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that violence and crime in Arab Israeli communities was a “national calamity,” as he met with senior government and police officials to formulate a national plan to tackle the issue.

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