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Man shot dead in attack at wedding in Arab town, four others wounded

Shooting at Taibe celebration is 2nd Arab community murder to take place within hours, bringing number of Arab Israelis killed in apparent homicides this year to 73

A view of Taibe. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)
A view of Taibe. (Moshe Shai/Flash90)

A man was killed Monday and five others were wounded in a shooting that occurred at a wedding in the Arab town of Taibe, in the country’s center.

According to witness reports, the shooting arrived at the wedding and opened fire at a group of young men with an automatic rifle. One man, aged around 25, was rushed to hospital in critical condition but died of his wounds shortly thereafter.

A second young man, around 20 years old, was in serious condition. The others were mildly or moderately hurt.

The shooter fled the scene. Police were investigating the attack.

The killing marked the 73rd apparent murder of an Arab Israeli in 2021. Arab cities and towns have seen a surge in violence in recent years, with organized crime seen as the main driver. Another 15 Palestinians were killed inside Israeli territory.

The murder came only hours after another young man was shot and killed in the northern Arab town of Zarzir. Police suspect that the shooting was a revenge attack between rival gangs, the Ynet news site reported.

Various reports placed the victim’s age between 19 and 26 years old.

Last week, two Arab men were shot dead in apparent homicides in northern Israel.

In the city of Acre, 38-year-old Khaled az-Zawi was shot and critically wounded by an unknown gunman, police said. Medics took him to the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariyya, where he was pronounced dead a short while later.

Later that same day, in the town of Jisr az-Zarqa, 42-year-old Ahmad Amash was shot by an unknown assailant. Amash was taken to Hadera’s Hillel Yaffe Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead by medical staff.

Police said that they had opened investigations into both incidents.

The number of Arab Israelis killed in 2021 is on pace to eclipse the total from last year.

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

Arab Israelis blame the police, which 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.

In July, 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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