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Brother, sister killed in double murder in northern Bedouin village

56-year-old man shot dead, his 60-year-old sister beaten to death in Ibtin; 44-year-old relative also shot and in moderate condition; killings thought linked to family land dispute

Illustrative -- Israel Police investigate scene of crime, June 2, 2021 (Israel Police)
Illustrative -- Israel Police investigate scene of crime, June 2, 2021 (Israel Police)

A 56-year-old man was shot dead and his 60-year-old sister beaten to death in a double killing in the early hours of Saturday morning in the Bedouin village of Ibtin in northern Israel.

A second woman, 44, who was related to the two deceased individuals, was taken to the hospital where she was treated for moderate injuries also sustained in the shooting.

The man’s death was determined on the scene by medics. Hospital doctors attempted to save his sister’s life before she too was declared dead.

The victims were later named as Hassan Ramihi, and his sister, Subhiya.

Police said they have opened an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the killings.

The Kan public broadcaster reported that it was suspected that the killings were connected to a family dispute over land.

Arab cities and towns have seen a surge in violence in recent years, with organized crime seen as the main driver. Arab Israelis 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.

In 2020, 96 Arab Israelis were killed, by far the highest annual toll in recent memory.

More than 90 percent of shootings in Israel last year took place in Arab communities, according to police. Arab Israelis account for around one-fifth of the country’s population.

Last month, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett announced at a weekly cabinet meeting that Israel would implement a national plan to tackle crime in the Arab community.

The Islamist Ra’am Party, which joined Bennett’s government coalition, ran on a platform of tackling violence in Israel’s Arab communities. When Ra’am signed a coalition agreement in early June, it noted that Bennett and his coalition partner, Foreign Minister Yair Lapid, agreed to provide NIS 2.5 million ($770,000) for this purpose.

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