Arab lawmakers blame police neglect for spate of gun killings
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Arab lawmakers blame police neglect for spate of gun killings

After three murdered in Arab towns overnight, legislators say authorities are failing to address rampant violence

Joint (Arab) List leader Ayman Odeh leads a faction meeting in the Knesset in Jerusalem on October 31, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)
Joint (Arab) List leader Ayman Odeh leads a faction meeting in the Knesset in Jerusalem on October 31, 2016. (Miriam Alster/Flash90)

Arab lawmakers on Friday blamed police neglect for rampant gun violence in the Arab community, after three people were murdered Thursday night in the towns of Tira and Jisr a-Zarka.

Joint (Arab) List head Ayman Odeh said the killings served as “harsh and sad testimony to police neglect in addressing illegal weapons and crime gangs.”

Odeh attacked plans by Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan to ease gun control regulations. “While Erdan seeks to hand out guns to any and all who want them, the Arab public is bleeding.”

MK Hanin Zoabi called on Arab leaders to shun police as long as authorities fail to present a plan to curb gun violence.

“Police build stations and take pride in drafting officers, but there are zero results,” she said. “Police do not have enough investigators or operative plans to handle the issue… It is investing in its image rather than in human lives.”

On Thursday night a young couple was shot dead in their car near the entrance to Tira. The two, Mahmud Hajaj and Rima Abu Khait, were engaged to be married.

Police said their killers may have been targeting Hajaj, who was known to police.

The scene of a shooting in Tira, August 30, 2018. (screen capture: Ynet)

Later that night, a 33-year-old man, Faisel Radad, was shot dead in Jisr a-Zarka while sitting with three other friends in the backyard of a home. The four were all wounded and rushed to hospital, with Radad succumbing to his injuries.

The motive for the killing was not yet clear, and Radad did not have a criminal record.

Police are investigating the deaths.

Residents of Arab communities have long complained of a lack of local policing. Flooded with illegal weapons, some Arab-Israeli cities have become hotbeds of crime in a trend that Arab-Israeli lawmakers say the Israel Police is reluctant to combat.

Ynet reported that more than 30 Israeli Arabs have been murdered in 2018.

Tira resident Ahmad Mansour said, “Since the start of the year we’ve had five murders. To this day we haven’t heard of arrests or indictments against the criminals and murderers. As long as murderers are free to roam free they have a green light to murder more people.”

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