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Police arrest six more suspects in killing of Arab Israeli journalist

Nidal Agbaria was shot dead in the northern city of Umm al-Fahm in September while returning home from a mosque

Police search the home of one of six suspects arrest on suspicion of involvement in the killing of Arab Israeli journalist Nidal Agbaria, October 26, 2022. (Israel Police)
Police search the home of one of six suspects arrest on suspicion of involvement in the killing of Arab Israeli journalist Nidal Agbaria, October 26, 2022. (Israel Police)

Police arrested on Wednesday six additional people suspected of involvement in the killing of Arab Israeli journalist Nidal Agbaria in September.

In a joint operation carried out by police interrogators, Border Police officers and the IDF’s canine unit, five residents of Umm al-Fahm and one resident of Ar’ara — both Arab towns in northern Israel — were arrested and taken in for questioning.

The suspects were all individuals in their 20s and 30s, police said.

Three of the suspects were released under restrictions after being questioned.

Police said they would ask the Haifa Magistrate Court to extend the arrests of the remaining suspects.

Last week, police said they had arrested four residents of Umm al-Fahm suspected of involvement in Agbaria’s murder.

A gun was found in one of the suspects’ homes.

A police investigator examines a gun found at the home of one of four suspects arrested on suspicion of connection to the murder of Arab Israeli journalist Nidal Agbaria in Umm al-Fahm in September, October 19, 2022. (Israel Police)

According to the ongoing investigation, Agbaria was killed by local criminals in an attempt to pressure his brother to pay a debt. He was shot dead on September 4 in his car, apparently while making his way home from a mosque in Umm al-Fahm.

Agbaria was an editor at the news site Bldtna, which reports on developments in Umm al-Fahm and covered crime-related stories in the Arab community.

His murder was held up as a wake-up call for Israeli authorities regarding the rising crime rate among Arab Israelis.

Arab Israeli journalist Nidal Agbaria (Courtesy)

“The police knew for a year that criminal organizations had marked Nidal Agbaria’s home. Nidal was murdered… due to the incompetence of the police. The murder of a journalist is an attempt to silence the voice of the Arab protest against violence and crime,” read a statement issued by the majority-Arab Hadash party at the time.

Last year, more than 50 bullets were fired toward the home that Agbaria shared with his wife and daughter. No injuries were reported in the attack, which was believed at the time to stem from Agbaria’s reporting on violent crime in the Arab community.

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