A man was shot and critically injured Wednesday evening in the port city of Jaffa, dying later of his wounds at the hospital, Israel Police said, in what was the third suspected murder in the Arab community this week amid a wave of violence tied to criminal gangs.
The victim was identified by Hebrew media as Amin Aghbaria, 24, a married father-of-one who is not known to have any ties to the criminal underworld and has no criminal record.
Police said he was shot on Kedem Street in the mixed Jewish Arab city and taken to the Ichilov hospital, where doctors pronounced him dead.
Aghbaria was apparently sitting in his car when a gunman approached him and fired at close range, Channel 13 news reported.
An eyewitness told the Ynet website that he heard 15 shots — first a group of four or five bullets, and then another ten in a burst.
The witness said that along with others, they ran to the scene and “immediately it was clear that man didn’t have much chance to survive. He simply didn’t look human anymore from the injuries.”
Qaid Hasnin, a resident of the city and a friend of Aghbaria, told Ynet that it is “unbelievable that he was murdered.”
“If they murdered an innocent man, that means the shooting will reach every citizen. We are fed up of living with never-ending shootings and violence,” he said.
נקבע מותו של גבר בן 30 שנמצא ירוי בראשו ברחוב קדם בתל-אביב יפו
ההרוג ממשפחת אג׳באריה pic.twitter.com/9s29qYpGJP
— Asslan Khalil ???? (@KhalilAsslan) December 29, 2021
Police opened an investigation into the incident.
The Abraham Initiatives, which monitors and campaigns against violence in the Arab community, said that the killing brings the number of Arabs killed in Israel in 2021 as a result of violence and crime to 125, of which 62 were below the age of 30.
Of those, 106 were Israeli citizens and 19 were non-citizens, apparently Palestinian residents of the West Bank who were in Israel. A further nine were killed during police operations, the group said. The victims included 16 women.
Earlier Wednesday evening, a man in his twenties suffered moderate wounds when he was shot in the lower body in the Arab town of Deir Hanna in the northern Galilee region.
Video shot by an eyewitness showed two men approaching the victim in the street and shooting him five times. The two men then escaped in a vehicle, which they later set alight, Channel 13 news reported. The victim was taken to the hospital in Tiberias. Police opened an investigation into the incident, which is believed to be part of a conflict between criminal elements.
הקלות בה אפשר לירות לא נתפסת, האכזריות שיורים בה לא נכנסת לראש.דיר חנא לפני רגעים. pic.twitter.com/BzWbBqPE0M
— Deiaa haj yahia (@DeiaaHaj) December 29, 2021
On Tuesday, a man in his twenties was shot dead in the Galilee town of Nahaf. Police said they were investigating, and the motive or background behind the killing was not immediately known.
That killing came two days after a resident of the Arab town of Jaljulia was lightly injured in a suspected car bombing near the nearby town of Kafr Qasim. And on Sunday, a woman was killed by a car bomb in Ramle and a passerby and her baby were injured by the explosion.
Arab communities have seen a surge in violence in recent years, driven mainly, but not exclusively, by organized crime.
Arab Israelis blame 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. The community has also suffered from decades of neglect.
Public Security Minister Omer Barlev has vowed to crack down on the violence.