2 Nazareth brothers shot dead in suspected gangland hit

Reports say suspects knocked on door of home where Ali and Khaled Saadi live, opened fire after saying they were cops; incident believed linked to feud between rival crime families

Illustrative: Police inspect the scene of a murder in the northern city of Nazareth on September 23, 2019. (Israel Police Spokesperson)
Illustrative: Police inspect the scene of a murder in the northern city of Nazareth on September 23, 2019. (Israel Police Spokesperson)

A pair of men were shot dead early Friday in Nazareth, in what police suspected was part of ongoing hostilities between rival criminal groups.

The two were seriously wounded in the shooting and brought to the northern Arab Israeli city’s English Hospital, where they were pronounced dead.

They were later identified as brothers Ali Saadi, 28, and Khaled Saadi, 31.

Police said an investigation was launched and that officers were searching for suspects.

According to Hebrew media reports, the Saadis were shot at close range at the entrance to their home by suspects who identified themselves as police after knocking on the door.

The two are members of the Bakri crime family, which has been feuding with the Harari organization.

The beef has already claimed numerous lives, with the suspected hit on the Saadis bringing the apparent death toll to 14. Including the Saadis, eight of those have been killed since December 20, when a man and his 2-year-old son were shot dead while sitting in a car in Nazareth.

The Abraham Initiatives watchdog, which monitors and campaigns against violence in the Arab community, reported that the latest deaths brought the number of Arabs killed in homicides since the start of the year to nine. Last year, 116 Arab Israelis were killed in violent incidents, 101 of them by gunfire.

National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir’s office announced he would visit the scene of Friday’s shooting later in the day and meet with police from the Northern District.

Ben Gvir has vowed to increase personal safety in Israel, but the far-right lawmaker has refrained from commenting on killings within the Arab community since taking office in late December.

Arab communities in Israel have seen a surge in violence in recent years, driven mainly, but not exclusively, by organized crime.

Arab Israelis say police have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and for years largely ignored the violence, which includes family feuds, mafia turf wars and attacks on women.

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