Man shot dead in Lod, apparently amid feud between crime families

Victim, 48, was reportedly a bus driver not involved in organized crime

Screen capture from video showing the scene of a deadly shooting in the city of Lod, December 15, 2021. (Ynet news)
Screen capture from video showing the scene of a deadly shooting in the city of Lod, December 15, 2021. (Ynet news)

A man was shot dead in Lod early Wednesday morning in an incident suspected to be part of a longstanding feud between two rival crime families in the city.

The shooting, the second such incident this week believed related to organized crime, came amid government efforts to crack down on rampant violence in Arab Israeli communities.

The victim, 48, was a bus driver on his way to work, the Ynet news site reported.

Video from the location of the shooting appeared to show that the man had been shot while sitting in the driver’s seat of a bus.

Paramedics declared him dead at the scene, and police opened an investigation into the incident.

The victim is a member of a family that is embroiled in a spat with another family, leading police to suspect that the ongoing feud was the motive behind the killing, according to Hebrew media reports.

A police source told Haaretz the victim was not directly involved in the feud and was not involved in organized crime. The source speculated that he was targeted merely because of his relationship with one of the families.

Meanwhile, the fire service was called to deal with a car and a truck that were burned in Lod, and police were investigating whether there was any connection with the shooting incident, Ynet reported.

Since the start of the year, five Arabs have been murdered in Lod, a city with a mixed Arab and Jewish population.

The shooting came a day after Israel Police Chief Kobi Shabtai visited the Lod police station. Shabtai instructed that two additional police motorcycle riders be deployed in the city to improve response times to incidents.

Medics are seen at the scene of a shooting in Haifa, December 12, 2021. Insert: Ahmed Omaria. (Magen David Adom; Courtesy)

On Sunday a 25-year-old man was fatally shot in the northern city of Haifa. The victim — identified as Ahmed Omaria from the nearby town of Ibtin — was shot near the Check Post Interchange. According to Hebrew-language reports, that shooting was also apparently related to a feud between rival clans.

According to the Abraham Initiative nonprofit, there have been 121 homicides in the Arab community this year, an all-time record. Of those killed, 102 were Arab citizens of Israel and 19 were Palestinians, either from East Jerusalem or with Israeli residency.

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.

In August, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that violence and crime in Arab Israeli communities was a “national calamity.” He has vowed to crack down on the phenomenon.

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