2 killed by gunfire in Nazareth, Kafr Manda amid soaring crimewave

Nazareth shooting thought linked to feud between criminal organizations; man in his 20s killed in Kafr Manda, 77 members of Arab community killed in violence since start of year

Illustrative: Police at the scene of an apparent criminal shooting at the Re'im Parking Lot, near the border with the Gaza Strip, December 24, 2022. (Israel Police)
Illustrative: Police at the scene of an apparent criminal shooting, December 24, 2022. (Israel Police)

Two men were killed overnight in apparently separate shootings, the latest murders in the Arab community amid a soaring crimewave.

A 26-year-old was shot in the northern city of Nazareth and rushed to a hospital in critical condition but died of his injuries.

He was later named as Osama Marwat.

Preliminary reports indicated the background to the shooting was a feud between organized crime organizations.

According to the Ynet news site, Marwat was the 21st victim in a dispute between the Bakri and Hariri crime families.

On Sunday, 24-year-old Hanan Abu Hait, the mother of a five-year-old boy, was shot dead in Haifa in a killing thought linked to the same feud.

Hours after Marwat was killed, Mohammed Ibrahim, also in his 20s, was shot and critically wounded in the town of Kfar Manda. He later died of his injuries.

A second man was moderately injured in the shooting.

The Ynet news site said the killing was thought linked to a financial dispute.

Police opened investigations into the shootings, though probes of Arab murders rarely lead to arrests, let alone convictions.

According to The Abraham Initiatives, a group that campaigns against violence, there have been 77 Arabs killed in violent circumstances since the beginning of the year. The watchdog said 69 of them were killed by gunfire.

By this date last year, 29 Arab community members had been killed.

Over 90 suspected murders have taken place since the start of 2023, more than double last year’s rate.

Police at the scene of a suspected triple murder at an apartment in Taibe on May 1, 2023. (Courtesy: Israel Police)

President Isaac Herzog on Monday decried the dramatic surge in homicides and violent crime as an “epidemic” plaguing Israel.

Speaking hours after a young Arab mother was shot dead in Haifa as part of a suspected criminal dispute, Herzog said Israel was in a “time of emergency” and called the killings a “strategic challenge” for the country.

Herzog also called on the government and all official bodies involved in the matter “to convene urgently for emergency deliberations, sit together, make decisive and resolute decisions, stop with the concerns and excuses, act with all tools and lead an uncompromising all-out war that will eradicate this threat.”

Last week, the Knesset’s National Security Committee, which oversees the state’s efforts to tackle violent crime and other related matters, announced it would not convene as part of Otzma Yehudit’s boycott of Knesset activities amid a tussle with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu over the extent of its influence on government decision-making.

Otzma Yehudit is led by National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who campaigned as tough on crime but has been largely mum on the soaring crimewave.

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