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Arab youth shot dead in northern Galilee town; 5 injured in shootings in 24 hours

Zein Awad, 20, killed in Arab town of Mazra’a, near Nahariya, the latest murder in a devastating wave of violence gripping Arab communities

Illustrative: A Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulance at the scene of a suspected murder in Ramle, August 27, 2022. (MDA)
An illustrative photo of a Magen David Adom (MDA) ambulance at the scene of a suspected murder in Ramle, August 27, 2022. (MDA)

A 20-year-old youth was killed in a shooting on Friday night in a northern Arab village in the Galilee region, the latest in an unrelenting wave of murders in Israel’s Arab communities.

The victim was identified in the Hebrew-language press as Zein Awad. He was found shot near a place of business in the Arab town of Mazra’a, near Nahariya, and sustained critical injuries, police said. Paramedics called to the scene took Awad to the hospital where he was pronounced dead.

Police launched an investigation into the killing.

Earlier Friday, a 25-year-old man was shot and seriously injured in the coastal Arab town of Jisr az-Zarqa, north of Caesarea. He was taken to hospital. Police said they were investigating. Separately, a 20-year-old resident of the Arab town of Zemer was seriously wounded in a shooting near Baqa al-Gharbiya.

On Thursday, a number of members of Arab communities were injured in a string of shootings in the north and south: a 36-year-old was moderately injured in a shooting in Jisr az-Zarqa, a 19-year-old was seriously wounded in the Bedouin city of Segev Shalom (Shaqib al-Salam) in the Negev, and a 16-year-old was lightly injured in the same incident.

The violence came days after a 34-year-old mother and her 14-year-old daughter, a twin, were killed in a brutal shooting that shocked the country on Monday night in the central city of Lod. The surviving twin was seriously injured and is under special protective custody amid ongoing threats to her life.

Manar Hajaj and her daughter Khadra. (Courtesy, used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

According to reports, Manar Hajaj and her daughters had been unpacking groceries from their vehicle when she and Khadra were shot at close range. Maryam tried to flee and was shot in the leg.

According to the Abraham Initiatives, a group campaigning against violence in the Arab community, at least 75 Arabs have been killed in violent crimes in Israel so far this year, 71 of whom were citizens of the country. Nine of the victims this year were women, and 64 were killed in shootings.

Some details of the Hajaj murder investigations are barred from publication by a court order.

No arrests have been announced but Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai said Wednesday that the assassin was Israel’s most-wanted man, and police “will not rest until we get our hands on him.” He said that law enforcement presence in the city would be bolstered.

According to the Abraham Initiatives, only nine of the first 68 murders this year have been cracked by the police.

On Monday night, Lod Mayor Yair Revivo decried Israelis’ apathy toward the murder wave and shared that if the victims had been Jewish “the country would come to a standstill.”

“There continues to be a crazy wave of violence raging in this country, especially in the Arab community, and I am sorry to say this, but the country is not waking up,” Revivo told the Ynet news site at the scene of murders of Manar and Khadra Hajaj.

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