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3 stabbed, seriously injured, during brawl in Rahat

Violence reportedly broke out during funeral, amid efforts to curb wave of crime in Arab community

Illustrative: Police units in the Bedouin city of Rahat after a shooting incident, April 8, 2021. (Israel Police)
Illustrative: Police units in the Bedouin city of Rahat after a shooting incident, April 8, 2021. (Israel Police)

Three people were stabbed in a brawl that erupted Thursday morning in the southern city of Rahat, medics said.

The three victims — aged 17, 25, and 41 — were rushed to Soroka Medical Center in serious condition.

According to the Walla news site, the violence broke out during a funeral procession.

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

Since the beginning of 2021, at least 113 Arabs were killed in suspected homicides, according to the Abraham Initiatives nonprofit. Of them, 94 were Arab citizens of Israel and another 19 were Palestinians, either from East Jerusalem or with Israeli residency.

Arab Israelis blame 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. The community has also suffered from decades of neglect.

On Wednesday, police continued their efforts to fight crime in the south, with 1,200 officers taking part in widespread raids. According to the Israel Police, since the start of the crackdown, 225 suspects have been arrested and 56 firearms, 40 cars, and NIS 3.4 million in assets were seized.

On Thursday, police said they arrested a Shfaram man on suspicion of killing a 29-year-old man in Haifa a day earlier. The shooting victim was identified on Thursday as Ibraham Balkis. Police said he had a criminal background and was known to the authorities.

Overnight Wednesday-Thursday, an East Jerusalem man was fatally shot in his car in a suspected homicide.

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