Two men in their 20s were critically wounded in a shooting while under police escort on the Route 6 highway near the Nahshonim Junction on Monday. Their car crashed and one died shortly after.
Police suspect that the attack was in revenge for the shooting death of another man in the city of Lod overnight. The cops were securing the men’s transfer to another city when the attack occurred, and failed to prevent it.
According to Channel 13 news, the men were being escorted by three cops cars as they drove along Route 6, when another car entered between the vehicles and drove wildly before speeding off, in a suspected diversion. Two of the police cruisers followed the car.
A vehicle carrying the assailants then drove up to the convoy and opened fire, hitting the two men, the network said, adding that police had not identified the car used in the shooting.
An anonymous police source who spoke with Channel 12 News claimed the suspected revenge hit wasn’t a failure of the force and that the attack was unavoidable, without giving further explanation.
Magen David Adom said the two were rushed to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva, and one was later pronounced dead.
The two were identified as members of Lod’s Abu Salok family.
Officials suspect the shooting was linked to a suspected murder in Lod overnight, after a man was found shot dead in the central city. The man, in his 50s, was pronounced dead at the scene by Magen David Adom paramedics. He was identified in Hebrew media reports as Salman Azbarga.
Army Radio reported that police suspected relatives of Azbarga opened fire on the car on Route 6 to avenge his killing.
Riots erupted in Lod Monday afternoon, and cars belonging to both families were set alight. Two suspects were arrested in connection with Azbarga’s death, with large numbers of police at the scene.
כוחות גדולים מאוד של יס״מ נמצאים כאן, לחובבים: גם עבד נערני כאן. נעצר אדם אחד אבל המשטרה נכנסה ויצאה מהבתים במקום מס׳ פעמים. שוטר אחד נפצע קל ונזקק לטיפול רפואי pic.twitter.com/gkqvC6mcp9
— Bar Peleg (@bar_peleg) December 28, 2020
Following the second shooting, rioting broke out in Lod, with video showing residents throwing rocks and lighting a car on fire outside a police station.
Police were searching for the suspects in both shootings. The killings were believed to be part of a feud between families.
The Azbarga family has been feuding with Abu Salok family since 2010, when a member of the former was stabbed to death by a member of the latter during a brawl in Lod, Haaretz said. The feud started when a member of the Azbarga family was kicked out of a mosque being renovated by the Abu Saloks.
The overnight shooting in Lod was the second deadly shooting this month in the city, which has a mixed Jewish and Arab population.
According to the Abraham Initiatives nonprofit, 95 Arab Israelis have been murdered this year, a rise from 89 in 2019 and 71 in 2018.