Arab Israeli man shot to death in Umm al-Fahm
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Arab Israeli man shot to death in Umm al-Fahm

Mahmoud Aghbariyah becomes 75th murder fatality in 2019 in Arab-majority localities

An illustrative photo of a police car, February 27, 2017. (Moti Karelitz/Flash90)
An illustrative photo of a police car, February 27, 2017. (Moti Karelitz/Flash90)

A man in the northern city of Umm al-Fahm was shot dead Tuesday, bringing the murder toll in Israel’s Arab community to 75 since the beginning of this year.

Mahmoud Aghbariyah, 35, was seriously injured in the shooting and brought to HaEmek Medical Center. He was pronounced dead after efforts to revive him failed.

Police opened an investigation and said officers were gathering evidence from the scene of the shooting.

There was no word on the circumstances of the shooting.

Mahmoud Aghbariyah. (Screenshot)

A recent increase in killings and violent crime in Arab localities has sparked strikes and large protests. Arab leaders say police largely ignore the violence in their communities, everything from family feuds and mafia turf wars to domestic violence and so-called honor killings.

“Another youth who was cut down prematurely. Another family whose world was shattered with the squeeze of a trigger,” MK Ayman Odeh, head of the Joint List of predominately Arab parties, wrote on Twitter.

“This reality can’t continue — the Arab public demands enforcement and operations to confiscate guns,” he added.

Earlier Tuesday, hundreds of protesters gathered in the central city of Ramle to demonstrate against violence in Arab communities, calling for greater police enforcement to clamp down on crime.

Odeh told demonstrators the community’s protest “will continue until quiet is returned to the streets and the crime organizations are defeated. If we do not continue to count arrests and demonstrations, we will continue to count fatalities and funerals.”

Ramle was chosen as the location for the latest in a series of protests, which began at the beginning of October, after a prominent imam in the town was shot on Friday. Sheikj Ali al-Danaf, 40, was seriously wounded in the incident. Earlier that day, the head of the Islamic Movement in Ramle held a sermon calling for action and protests against organized crime. His car was hit by seven bullets in what Channel 13 said was an attempted murder close to the mosque where he prays.

In Ramle, Hundreds demonstrate against violence in Arab Israeli communities on October 15, 2019. (Joint List)

Last week, Arab politicians led a protest convoy of vehicles from Majd al-Krum in northern Israel along Route 6 to the capital, where they met with Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan and interim Police Commissioner Motti Cohen to demand increased enforcement.

Erdan vowed to allocate 600 officers to handle violent crime, as well as focus resources on investigating organized crime.

Mass protests are planned for October 21 and 27, outside police headquarters in Nazareth and Ramle, respectively. On the 27th, organizers plan to set up protest tents outside government offices in the capital.

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