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Police minister slams 'declaration of war' by crime families

Gunmen fire at home of senior cop overseeing fight on crime in Arab towns

Police say Jamal Hakrush’s house was damaged but nobody injured; spokesperson says unclear if attack linked to earlier capture of fugitive prisoners

Jamal Hakrush becomes the first Arab Muslim deputy commissioner in the Israel Police, April 2016 (Israel Police)
Jamal Hakrush becomes the first Arab Muslim deputy commissioner in the Israel Police, April 2016 (Israel Police)

Gunmen attacked the home of senior Arab Israeli police officer Jamal Hakrush in the northern Israeli city of Kafr Kanna on Friday night.

There were no injuries in the incident, although the shooting damaged the building, Israel Police said in a statement.

A number of checkpoints were set up in the area in the hunt for the attackers, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

It was unclear if the attack was linked to the capture hours earlier of two of six fugitive security prisoners who had been on the lam since Monday, a police spokesperson added.

Public Security Minister Omer Barlev denounced the shooting as a “declaration of war” by crime families on the police.

Hakrush directs a unit whose directive is to fight rising crime in Arab cities and towns.

Arab communities have seen a surge in violence in recent years, driven mainly by organized crime.

The year 2020 saw 96 Arab Israelis killed in violence, by far the highest annual toll in recent memory.

The home of senior Arab Israeli police officer Jamal Hakroush was attacked by gunmen in the northern Israeli city of Kafr Kanna on September 10, 2021 (Screen grab/Kan)

Arab Israelis blame police, whom 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.

According to a 2020 Knesset report, some 400,000 illegal weapons are circulating in Israel, the vast majority in Arab communities.

Last month, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that violence and crime in Arab Israeli communities was a “national calamity,” as he met with senior government and police officials to formulate a national plan to tackle the issue.

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