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Alleged Jaffa crime boss shot dead in suspected mob hit

Arab Israeli man, identified as Izat Hamad, gunned down while riding motorcycle through Tel Aviv

Police at the scene of a suspected mob killing in Tel Aviv on July 17, 2021. (Israel Police)
Police at the scene of a suspected mob killing in Tel Aviv on July 17, 2021. (Israel Police)

An Arab Israeli man was shot dead in an apparent mob hit in Tel Aviv late Saturday, police and medics said, with media reports identifying the man as the head of a local crime family.

Witnesses said the man, named as Izat Hamad, was riding a motorcycle through Tel Aviv when another motorcyclist approached him, opened fire, and fled.

Police said they were investigating the incident and said the shooting appeared to be a criminal act and not terror-related.

Magen David Adom medics said they found the man lying in the road suffering from several gunshot wounds. Attempts to resuscitate him failed and they were forced to declare him dead.

Media reports said Hamad was well known in the Jaffa underworld.

Arab cities and towns have seen a surge in violence in recent years, with organized crime seen as the main driver. 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 Abraham Initiative, a group that campaigns against violence in Arab society, said Saturday before the Jaffa killing that 48 Arab citizens had been killed in the country due to violent crime since the start of the year. An additional nine fatalities were East Jerusalemites or Palestinians who were in Israel at the time of their deaths.

According to the organization, nine Arab women have been killed in the community this year.

It noted that 28 of those in this year’s death tally were under the age of 30.

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

More than 90 percent of shootings in Israel last year took place in Arab communities, according to police, though Arab Israelis account for around one-fifth of the country’s population.

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