Arab-Israeli journalist who covered violent crime shot dead in car in Umm al-Fahm

Local reporter Nidal Agbaria, who was targeted in an assassination attempt last year, killed as he drove home from mosque

Arab-Israeli journalist Nidal Agbaria (Courtesy)
Arab-Israeli journalist Nidal Agbaria (Courtesy)

Arab-Israeli journalist Nidal Agbaria, who reported on violent crime in the Arab community, was shot dead in his car in Umm al-Fahm on Sunday evening.

Israel Police said they received a report on Sunday evening of a 44-year-old man found shot in his car in the northern Israeli city. He was brought to Emek Medical Center in Afula in life-threatening condition, and pronounced dead there, said first responders.

Police said they are opening an investigation into the incident, gathering evidence at the scene, and searching for suspects.

Agbaria was an editor at the news site Bldtna, which reports on developments in Umm al-Fahm. On its Facebook page, the news site mourned the loss of Agbaria on Sunday evening.

“The voice of truth will not die,” the news site wrote, reporting that Agbaria had been making his way home from a mosque when he was killed.

Last year, more than 50 bullets were fired toward the home that Agbaria shared with his wife and daughter. No injuries were reported in the attack, which was believed to stem from Agbaria’s reporting on violent crimes in the Arab community.

Police forces in Umm al-Fahm, December 2, 2021. (Israel Police)

Meretz MK Ali Salalha said that Agbaria’s death showed that “Arab citizens [of Israel] are living here without security!”

He called the slain journalist “yet another innocent victim of violence in the Arab community,” and called on Israeli authorities to do more to prevent the spate of killings.

The Union of Journalists in Israel said it was “horrified” by Agbaria’s murder and sent condolences to his family. “The Israel Police must act immediately to find the killers and bring them to justice,” the union stated.

The Hadash political faction blamed the Israel Police for failing to project Agbaria after it was clear that he was a target for violence.

“The police knew for a year that criminal organizations had marked Nidal Agbaria’s home,” said Hadash in a statement. “Nidal was murdered today due to the incompetence of the police. The murder of a journalist is an attempt to silence the voice of the Arab protest against violence and crime.”

According to the Abraham Initiatives, a group campaigning against violence in the Arab community, at least 69 Arab Israelis have been killed so far this year in violent crimes.

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