Two Arab men shot dead within hours in central and northern Israel

Police suspect criminal dispute as motive for killing in Rameh; two suspects in Lod shooting caught trying to flee to Palestinian Authority

Illustrative: Scene of the shooting in Rameh on August 15, 2021, in which politician Sahar Ismail, 50, was shot dead. (Israel Police)
Illustrative: Scene of the shooting in Rameh on August 15, 2021, in which politician Sahar Ismail, 50, was shot dead. (Israel Police)

Two men were shot dead in two separate incidents Friday, the latest fatalities in an unrelenting wave of violent crime in Israel’s Arab community.

A 56-year-old man was shot dead in the northern town of Rameh on Friday evening. The man was identified by Hebrew media as Sati Gerzozi. It was the third deadly shooting incident within 24 hours.

Police said that they suspected the shooting was related to a criminal dispute, and have opened an investigation.

Paramedics who arrived on the scene said they found Gerzozi unconscious and suffering a penetrative wound. The victim did not show any signs of life, and they were forced to declare him dead at the scene

The victim had been facing criminal proceedings after being arrested in November for withholding an income of NIS 600,000 ($173,000), which he received from customers to whom he loaned money. The courts released Gerzozi on restrictive conditions and seized hundreds of thousands of shekels from him.

Earlier on Friday, Rajab Abu Hamad, 30, was shot dead in broad daylight in front of a community police station in the central city of Lod.

Rajab Abu Hamad, 30, who was shot dead in the central city of Lod on June 8, 2022. (Courtesy)

Police arrested two suspects in the case at the Hashmonaim checkpoint in the West Bank hours later, and said they were attempting to escape to Palestinian Authority-controlled territory.

Another man, Fathi Shain, a 33-year-old from Tamra, was shot dead in the northern town of Zarzir on Thursday night.

Arab communities have seen a surge in violence in recent years. Many blame the 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.

According to the Abraham Initiatives, a non-government group campaigning against violence in the Arab community, since the beginning of the year, over 50 Arabs and Palestinians have been killed in violence or crime-related circumstances in Israel, mostly in shooting incidents.

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