East Jerusalem woman, 21, killed by stray bullet as families feud

Maryam al-Takrouri was reportedly returning from Ramadan prayers on Temple Mount when she was caught in firefight in Wadi Joz; bus attacked amid continued Old City rioting

Screen capture from video said to show clashes in the Wadi al-Joz neighborhood of East Jerusalem that left a woman dead from gunfire, April 18, 2021. (Twitter)
Screen capture from video said to show clashes in the Wadi al-Joz neighborhood of East Jerusalem that left a woman dead from gunfire, April 18, 2021. (Twitter)

A young woman from East Jerusalem died of a gunshot wound overnight Saturday-Sunday after being caught in a firefight between two feuding families.

The woman was killed by a stray bullet in Wadi Joz, according to Hebrew media reports.

The Israel Police said five other people were injured in the clash and opened an investigation into the incident.

The victim was identified as Maryam al-Takrouri, 21.

According to the Haaretz news site, al-Takrouri was returning from Ramadan prayers at the Al-Aqsa Mosque on the Temple Mount when she was shot.

She was pronounced dead at Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem.

Local residents said there has been ongoing violence between the two families that has recently seen several people injured by gunfire or firecrackers launched by the rival families at each other, according to the report.

Separately, clashes broke out for the fifth consecutive night Saturday around Jerusalem’s Old City, as tensions have simmered in East Jerusalem since the start last week of Ramadan, a month-long Muslim religious period.

Police clashed with rioters in East Jerusalem after being pelted with rocks and firecrackers. Rioters also hurled rocks at a bus, shattering a window near the Damascus Gate of the Old City which has been a focal point of the recent violence.

MK Itamar Ben-Gvir, of the extreme right-wing Otzma Yehudit party, tweeted a video from the clashes and called on Public Security Minister Amir Ohana to open an investigation to “deal with these terrorists,” adding: “Jerusalem is becoming the Wild West.”

The incident comes amid a spate of killings within the Arab community.

Two brothers from the Arab Israeli city of Baqa al-Gharbiya were shot dead overnight Thursday-Friday in the Palestinian West Bank city of Tulkarem.

Shafa Abu Hussein and his brother Salah, both in their 20s, were shot in their vehicle in a drive-by shooting. The Palestinian Authority police said the car carrying the gunmen also bore Israeli license plates, Friday reports said. The motive remains unclear.

The two became the 31st and 32nd Arab Israelis to die in violent circumstances this year, according to the Ynet news site, making al-Takrouri the 33rd.

Arab cities and towns have seen a surge in violence in recent years, with organized crime seen as the main driver. Arab Israelis blame police, whom they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations.

Also overnight Friday, police said they arrested 69 suspects in the central Israel city of Ramle following reports of gunfire in the Gan Haqal neighborhood.

The suspects, from two feuding families, were said to have been shooting and hurling stones and Molotov cocktails at each other. A police officer was lightly wounded from gunfire during the chaos.

A car is seen damaged in Ramla after two feuding families were violently fighting on April 16, 2021. (Police Spokesperson)

On Monday, a 38-year-old woman was shot dead in the Arab Israeli city of Tira. Last Friday two cousins were shot dead in the Arab town of Deir al-Asad. Hours earlier, a man was shot dead at the entrance to his home in the Bedouin village of Ibtin.

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.

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