ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 150

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Murder probe launched after Bedouin man shot dead in south

Police say victim, identified as a deaf and mute father of 8, was apparently struck by a stray bullet fired in dispute between rival clans

A handout photo from police shows a police cruiser and other emergency vehicles after a Bedouin man was shot dead in southern Israel, January 13, 2022. (Israel Police)
A handout photo from police shows a police cruiser and other emergency vehicles after a Bedouin man was shot dead in southern Israel, January 13, 2022. (Israel Police)

Police on Friday opened a murder investigation after a Bedouin man was shot dead in southern Israel.

According to a police statement, the man was brought with a gunshot wound to a gas station along Route 40, south of Beersheba, where he was pronounced dead by medics.

Officers later carried out searches in the area and gathered evidence.

Police identified the victim as a resident of the “Bedouin diaspora,” a series of unrecognized communities in the Negev Desert. He was later named by the Ynet news site as Salim al-Huashla, a deaf and mute father of eight.

Citing an assessment held by the commander of the Negev precinct, police said he appeared to have been struck by a stray bullet that was fired as part of a dispute between rival clans in the area.

Al-Huashla’s brother said he was riding an ATV with one of his sons when he was fatally struck by the bullet.

“My brother was not embroiled with anyone,” Ali al-Huashla told Ynet. “Because of his condition, he didn’t hear the gunfire and unfortunately fell victim in an incident that he was not a part of.”

Hours after the shooting, police announced the arrest of a suspect, a 20-year-old resident of the area.

The Abraham Initiatives, which tracks violence in the Arab community, said al-Huashla was the sixth Arab to be killed in a homicide since the start of the year, after 116 were killed in 2022.

Arab communities have seen a surge in violence in recent years amid a rise in organized crime and the proliferation of illegal weapons.

Earlier Friday, police announced the arrest of 36 suspects as part of a crackdown by the southern district’s unit “to thwart crime in the Arab community in the city of Beersheba and the Bedouin diaspora.”

A police statement said officers raided 24 different locations, where they seized five guns and ammunition, and also issued nearly 350 tickets for traffic offenses.

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