Two brothers from the Arab Israeli city of Baqa al-Gharbiya were shot dead overnight Thursday-Friday in the Palestinian West Bank city of Tulkarem.
Shafa Abu Hussein and his brother Salah, both in their 20s, were shot in their vehicle in a drive-by shooting. The Palestinian police said the car carrying the gunmen also bore Israeli license plates, Friday reports said.
The motive remains unclear. Palestinian police said they were investigating. There was no immediate statement from Israel’s police.
The victims were taken to a local hospital in critical condition, where medical personnel pronounced their deaths.
مقتل شابين من باقة الغربية بالداخل المحتل رمياً بالرصاص في طولكرم، حيث تم إطلاق النار على مركبتهما من مسلحين بمركبة أخرى. pic.twitter.com/RBiadRsINM
— ﮼أحمد،المقادمة | ???????? ✪ (@maqadema) April 16, 2021
The two became the 31st and 32nd Arab Israelis to die in violent circumstances this year, according to the Ynet news site.
In October, the victims’ mother was shot dead in Baqa al-Gharbiya. In December another three relatives of the victims were shot dead, also in their hometown.
Arab cities and towns have seen a surge in violence in recent years, with organized crime seen as the main driver. Arab Israelis blame the police, whom they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations.
عاجل : اطلاق نار وأنباء عن وقوع اصابات وقتلى في طولكرم pic.twitter.com/5z6jEE0BCc
— Nafethanews | النافذة الاخبارية (@nafethanews) April 16, 2021
Also overnight Friday, police say they arrested 69 suspects in the central Israel city of Ramla following reports of gunfire in the Gan Haqal neighborhood.
The suspects, from two feuding families, were said to have been shooting and hurling stones and Molotov cocktails at each other. A police officer was lightly wounded from gunfire during the chaos.
On Monday, a 38-year-old woman was shot dead in the Arab Israeli city of Tira. Last Friday two cousins were shot dead in the Arab town of Deir al-Asad. Hours earlier, a man was shot dead at the entrance to his home in the Bedouin village of Ibtin.
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. Arab Israelis account for around one-fifth of the country’s population.