Rahat mayor: There's a war here, it's the Wild West

Girl, 14, hurt in Rahat shooting; mom says ‘gunfire all night, but no police’

Teen shot in abdomen while at home; multiple houses, businesses targeted by gunmen in dispute between 2 families; girl’s mother says they repeatedly called police, but no one came

Screen grab of a video apparently showing gunmen opening fire toward a store in Rahat, April 24, 2022 (Screen grab/Kan)
Screen grab of a video apparently showing gunmen opening fire toward a store in Rahat, April 24, 2022 (Screen grab/Kan)

A 14-year-old girl was moderately wounded overnight when she was shot in the abdomen while at home in the southern town of Rahat.

Remas Abu Ali was apparently injured in a firefight between two families in the early hours of Sunday.

She was taken to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center, where she underwent surgery.

According to reports and video footage, gunmen fired at a number of homes and businesses in the town overnight and on Sunday morning, apparently as part of a dispute between the Al-Bahiri and Al-Ubara families.

The teen’s mother told the Kan public broadcaster that police had ignored their calls to report sustained gunfire in the run-up to the shooting of the teen.

“There was shooting all night. There was no police. We called and reported it, and each time we were told it was being taken care of,” Nahmido Abu Ali said.

“[Remas] was injured at 5 a.m. while she was inside the house. I did not see any police units in Rahat from the start of the shooting until I got to the hospital,” she said.

“They only came after the hospital reported to [the police] that [my daughter] was injured. The shooting continued for another hour after she was shot. There is no security in this country for Arabs,” she said.

Three people have been arrested in connection with the shooting, although it was unclear if they were directly tied to the incident in which the girl was injured.

The mayor of Rahat, Faiz Abu Sahiban, said that the situation in the town was like the “Wild West” and called on the government to deploy forces to restore order.

“There’s a war now, shooting in the streets, shooting at businesses. We’re in the Wild West,” Abu Sahiban told Kan. “Let them bring all the forces, land and sea, helicopters and drones. There are no police.”

Arab communities in Israel have seen a surge in violence in recent years, driven mainly, but not exclusively, by organized crime.

Arab Israelis blame 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 Arab community has also suffered from decades of neglect.

The Rahat shooting came hours after a 33-year-old woman was shot and critically injured outside her home in the Arab town of Qalansawe, east of Netanya.

An unidentified man fled the scene after firing at the woman as she stood beside her car.

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