Man shot dead inside supermarket in northern town, becoming 163rd Arab crime victim

Ahmed Marai, 25, killed shortly after thousands rally in Haifa to demand police action against crime wave in Arab community, which has taken more lives than in any other year

Police officers at the scene where a man was shot dead in a supermarket in Fureidis, August 31, 2023. (Israel Police)
Police officers at the scene where a man was shot dead in a supermarket in Fureidis, August 31, 2023. (Israel Police)

A man was shot dead in the northern town of Fureidis on Thursday evening, as the crime wave enveloping Israel’s Arab community showed no signs of abating.

Police said they were called to the scene in the suburb of Haifa late Thursday and found three men wounded by gunshots.

Ahmed Marai, 25, was brought to Hillel Yaffe Medical Center in critical condition and was subsequently pronounced dead. Two other men in their 20s were moderately wounded and were evacuated to nearby hospitals for treatment, medics said.

Police said they opened an investigation into the incident, were collecting evidence at the scene and later planned to hold a situational assessment.

Channel 13 news reported that the shooting took place inside a supermarket.

Marai became the 163rd member of Israel’s Arab community to be killed in violent criminal incidents in 2023 — more than double the figure for the same period last year — according to the anti-violence advocacy group the Abraham Initiatives.

Just before the shooting, thousands of people took part in a protest rally in Haifa excoriating the police for failing to curb the wave of violent crime. Joint List MK Ayman Odeh, Ra’am chief Mansour Abbas and Yesh Atid MK Yoav Segalovitz — a former senior police official — took part in the rally.

Protesters carried coffins representing the members of the community who have been murdered this year, closing down streets as they marched through the center of the city.

Members of the Arab community march in protest against the police failure to curb violence in their community, in Haifa, August 31, 2023. (Flash90)

The shooting in Fureidis occurred just a few hours after a woman, later identified as Nur Riyan, a mother of seven, was shot dead in an apartment in Haifa. The man with her was moderately injured.

Hebrew media reported that an initial police investigation found that the incident was a failed attempted criminal underworld hit targeting the man, who was said to be Riyan’s boyfriend, but police are continuing to look into all possible scenarios.

“Another bloody day in the Arab community,” tweeted National Unity party chief Benny Gantz late on Thursday. “Another day that the situation is not being managed. There is no governance. There is nobody in charge.”

In recent weeks, the wave of violent crime — much of it fueled by feuds between underworld criminal organizations — has appeared to spill over into the upcoming municipal elections, with mayoral candidates and city officials being targeted.

In a shocking crime last week, four people were murdered in a mass shooting in the northern town of Abu Snan, one of them a mayoral candidate.

A day earlier, Tira’s city manager, Abdul Rahman Kashua, was shot dead.

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