Haifa man shot dead at home in latest murder in Israel’s Arab community

57-year-old Muhammed Faiz Dhiab, a father of 3, is the 66th Arab Israeli killed this year

Muhammed Faiz Dhiab. (courtesy)
Muhammed Faiz Dhiab. (courtesy)

A 57-year-old man was killed when unknown gunmen opened fire toward his home in the northern city of Haifa early Tuesday morning, police said.

Eyewitnesses said the unknown assailants knocked on the door of Muhammed Faiz Dhiab’s home, and after he did not open, they opened fire into the house, the Ynet news site reported. But other reports said he had opened the door to head to work and was then shot.

Dhiab, a father of three, reportedly worked as a truck driver.

He was pronounced dead by medics who arrived at the scene early Tuesday morning.

“He was a good man and a family man,” a neighbor told Ynet.

He “was not in conflict with anyone,” one of Dhiab’s relatives told the news site.

Police opened an investigation into the killing and were looking into a possible connection between the incident and a burnt-out car found in another part of the city a short while later.

The burning vehicle was extinguished after being located in an open field next to a cemetery in the Neve David neighborhood, the Israel Fire and Rescue Services said.

A burning vehicle was located in an open field next to a cemetery in the Neve David neighborhood, Haifa, August 31, 2021. (Israel Fire and Rescue Services)

Dhiab’s death marked the 66th killing of an Arab Israeli this year, according to the Abraham Initiatives nonprofit, as Arab cities and towns have seen a surge in violence in recent years, with organized crime seen as the main driver. Another 12 Palestinians were killed in alleged criminal homicides inside Israeli territory.

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

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.

Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai on Sunday called an emergency meeting on the violence after four Arab Israelis were killed in apparent homicides over the weekend.

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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