An Arab Israeli man was shot dead Tuesday night and another critically injured in what marked the third murder in the community since the start of the year.
It came amid growing anger among Arab Israelis at what they say is government inaction in the face of violence and organized crime in their cities and towns.
Suleiman Masrawa, 24, was fatally injured in the town of Kafr Qara, located about 35 kilometers (22 miles) southeast of Haifa. He was the son of the town’s former mayor, Naziya Masrawa.
The injured man was a Palestinian who works in Israel, the Walla news website reported.
The two were sitting in a vehicle at the time of the shooting. Both men were taken to the Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, where Masrawa was declared dead.
Police opened an investigation into the killing.
Local residents said they believe the shooting was a case of mistaken identity, according to Walla.
Police opened an investigation and arrived on the scene to collect evidence.
Half an hour after the shooting a car went up in flames in the northern part of the town, Walla reported, and investigators were checking if the vehicle was used by the gunmen. The number of suspected shooters was not reported.
According to the Arab anti-violence organization Aman Center, Masrawa’s death was the sixth murder in the Arab community since the start of the year — three men were killed in East Jerusalem this week.
So far, none of the crimes have been solved, Walla said.
In a separate incident Tuesday three people were injured by gunfire at a store in the main street of Tamra, an Arab Israeli city in the north of the country, Haaretz reported.
Many Arab Israelis blame the crisis on police inaction, saying that police do not enforce the law in their cities and towns. The absence of the rule of law, Arab lawmakers allege, has enabled illegal weaponry, protection rackets and organized crime organizations to spread freely in Arab communities.
Some senior police officials explain the disproportionate level of violence and crime by what they call Arab Israelis’ unwillingness to cooperate with their investigations. Some have also suggested that Arab culture plays a role in the violence.
Last month a convoy of some 100 cars blocked one of Israel’s main thoroughfares to protest alleged government inaction over violence in the community.
Since 2000, 1,528 people have been killed in the Arab Israeli community, Walla reported, citing Aman figures. Last year there were 113 murders in the Arab community, 96 men and 17 women, the highest annual count ever.
Numbers have been steadily climbing since 2015, when there were 58 murders.