3 killed over weekend in Arab community as gun violence surges

18-year-old shot dead in car in Lod, 26-year-old murdered in Bedouin town of Tel Sheva; 26-year-old succumbs to gun wound in Kafr Qasim

Abed Qurmata. (Courtesy)
Abed Qurmata. (Courtesy)

Three Arab Israelis were shot dead in separate killings on Friday and Saturday, as violence continued to afflict the community.

A 26-year-old resident of the Bedouin town of Tel Sheva was shot dead Friday night, in what police suspect was a murder tied to a family feud. Ibrahim Abu Amra was brought by residents to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center in critical condition, where he was pronounced dead. Police opened an investigation into his death.

On Saturday, 18-year-old Anas Al-Wahwah was shot dead in the city of Lod while sitting inside a car. Once again, police suspected a family feud was to blame. The victim’s family is known to police.

According to Channel 12, Al-Wahwah himself was an exemplary student and a social activist who volunteered at school and in his community. A police source said he may have been targeted simply for his family ties, rather than for being involved in any criminal activities himself.

Later on Saturday night, an Arab Israeli man was killed in a shooting in the central town of Kafr Qasim. The shooting victim was identified as Abed Qurmata, a 26-year-old from Jaljulia. He was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital with serious injuries.

Police have opened an investigation. There is no immediate word on a suspected motive.

Composite photo: 18-year-old Anas Al-Wahwah (L) and 26-year-old Ibrahim Abu Amra, both shot dead in separate gun violence incidents on August 28, 2021 (Courtesy)

Since the beginning of the year, 76 Arab Israelis have been murdered, as the community faces ongoing high rates of internal violence.

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

The year 2020 saw 96 Arab Israelis killed in violence, by far the highest annual toll in recent memory, but 2021’s rate appears set to surpass that number.

Arab Israelis blame the police, who 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.

Last month, 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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