A 22-year-old man was killed and another person seriously injured when unknown gunmen opened fire on a store in the northern city of Nazareth early Monday morning, police and medics said.
The man was identified as Mohammed Salam, a resident of the city. The second victim was also said to be in his 20s. He was evacuated to the hospital in serious condition.
The motive behind the attack was not immediately clear. However, reports said a good friend of Salam’s had been shot and killed in the city last month.
“What did he do that they killed him?” a relative told Ynet. “The criminals have no boundaries and no mercy, they continue to kill without end.”
His death marked the 72nd killing of an Arab Israeli this year, in violence that has continued to plague the community.
On Friday, a 28-year-old woman was shot dead while driving in the central town of Ramle.
Police suspect that the woman, identified as Lorin Musrati, was targeted by the family of her late husband — who was also gunned down in 2015. They opposed the victim’s decision to leave Ramle with her children for Haifa after her husband was killed, the Haaretz daily reported, adding that law enforcement was also looking into other motives for the attack.
There were three other non-fatal shootings that took place in towns with large Arab populations on Friday.
According to the Abraham Initiatives nonprofit, 72 Arab Israelis have been killed in homicides since the beginning of 2021, 11 of them women. In 2020, 96 Arab Israelis were killed, by far the highest annual toll in recent memory.
Another 12 Palestinians from West Bank and East Jerusalem were killed inside Israel in apparent homicides.
Arab cities and towns have seen a surge in violence in recent years, with organized crime seen as the main driver.
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.
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.