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Brother of former Beit Jann mayor shot to death

Bassam Kablan killed at work in a building supplies store, making him the 48th Arab or Druze homicide victim this year; second person seriously injured

Bassam Kablan, 40, who was shot to death at his building supply store in the Druze town of Beit Jann in northern Israel on July 1, 2022. (Courtesy)
Bassam Kablan, 40, who was shot to death at his building supply store in the Druze town of Beit Jann in northern Israel on July 1, 2022. (Courtesy)

The brother of a former mayor of a Druze town in the Galilee was shot to death Friday, the latest violent homicide in a crime wave in Israel’s Arab community that has shown no sign of letting up.

Bassam Kablan was pronounced dead at the scene after being shot in the town of Beit Jann. Kablan’s brother, Bian Kablan, was formerly mayor of the Upper Galilee city.

A second person was rushed to a hospital with serious injuries, the Magen David Adom rescue service said. Kablan’s age was listed in his 40s and the second person was said to be in his 50s.

Initial reports in Hebrew media indicated that Kablan was killed while working at his building supplies store in the city, when gunmen showed up and shot him and an employee.

Police said an investigation was opened.

The incident comes six years after another Kablan brother, Hussein, was also killed in a violent homicide.

Kablan was the 48th Arab or Druze killed in a violent incident since the beginning of 2022, according to the Abraham Initiatives organization. The tally has threatened to match or outpace last year’s record bloodshed.

The last several weeks have seen a surge of killings in  Arab communities, which have struggled under a wave of violence in recent years.

Many blame the police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore the violence, which includes family feuds, mafia turf wars and violence against women. The communities have also suffered from years of neglect.

Criminal groups have been known to threaten or target local political leaders or their families to extort lucrative government contracts or other benefits. Police did not say if the killing was suspected of being linked to the mayor.

Sheikh Moafaq Tarif, the spiritual leader of Israel’s Druze community, called the incident “a despicable act of criminal terror.”

He also blamed the police for “failing to prevent a homicide at the heart of a town in Israel, in the middle of the day.”

“We are in a state of war and we must act like it and activate emergency measures,” he said. “It’s not enough to publish statistics comparing the situation to last year.”

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