2 to be charged with shooting at home of senior cop fighting crime in Arab towns

One suspect is from target’s hometown of Kafr Kanna, the other from Haifa; police chief vows force won’t be deterred by September incident

The home of senior Arab Israeli police officer Jamal Hakrush was attacked by gunmen in the northern Israeli city of Kafr Kanna on September 10, 2021 (Screen grab/Kan)
The home of senior Arab Israeli police officer Jamal Hakrush was attacked by gunmen in the northern Israeli city of Kafr Kanna on September 10, 2021 (Screen grab/Kan)

Two suspects will be charged with firing a volley of shots at the home of senior Arab Israeli police officer Jamal Hakrush in the northern Israeli city of Kafr Kanna in September, the Israel Police said Monday.

Prosecutors announced their intention to file indictments against the two men — one, 33, a resident of Kafr Kanna; the other, 21, from the northern city of Haifa.

Following a two-month joint investigation by police and the Shin Bet security service, one of the suspects was arrested at his home, the other as he returned from a trip abroad, police said without specifying when the men were apprehended.

Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai, speaking at the opening of a meeting of senior officers in the city of Modiin, said the shooting was apparently carried out just because Hakrush is in uniform.

“It is an attempt to chip away at the rule of law and deter the Israel Police,” Shabtai said.

The shots that were fired at Hakrush’s home were in essence “fired at the home of every officer in the police,” he said, vowing the force would not be deterred.

There were no injuries in the shooting.

Israeli Police Chief Kobi Shabtai on January 8, 2021. (Yonatan Sindel/Flash90)

Investigators allege that on September 10 the two men arrived at Hakrush’s home in a car belonging to the Haifa resident. The other suspect, who was masked at the time, got out of the car and opened fire with an automatic weapon at the gate to the parking area of the home, causing damage.

Police investigators and the Shin Bet “performed a long list of intelligence and operational activities that led to the identification of the suspects and their arrest in a short time,” the police statement said.

Investigators concluded that the shooting was not done out of nationalistic motives, and as a result, the Shin Bet ended its role in the investigation, which will now be conducted only by police, the statement noted.

The Nazareth Magistrate’s Court acceded to a police request that the suspects remain in custody.

Hakrush directs a unit whose directive is to fight rising crime in Arab cities and towns.

Jamal Hakrush on February 11, 2016. (Israel Police)

Arab communities have seen a surge in violence in recent years, driven mainly by organized crime.

Since the beginning of 2021, there have been 106 Arabs killed in suspected homicides, according to the Abraham Initiatives nonprofit. Some 90 were citizens of Israel, and another 16 were Palestinians, either from East Jerusalem or with Israeli residency.

The most recent incident was on Friday when Mahmoud Hasarma, 38, from the northern town of Bi’na was shot dead in Nahariya.

Arab Israelis blame police, whom 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 August, 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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