Police in Jaffa gird for more gangland hits after man shot dead at busy port

Law enforcement official says criminals’ willingness to gun down Abed Qazaz in broad daylight is ‘very concerning’; crime likely related to killing of crime boss Izat Hamad in July

Police officers are seen near the scene of a shooting at Jaffa's port, October 23, 2021 (Israel Police)
Police officers are seen near the scene of a shooting at Jaffa's port, October 23, 2021 (Israel Police)

Police were reported to be gearing up for further underworld assassinations in the Tel Aviv area after a convicted criminal was chased and gunned down on Saturday afternoon in broad daylight at the busy Jaffa port.

According to Channel 12 news, police were specifically bolstering forces in the Jaffa area. The network did detail the extent of the move.

Abed Qazaz, 40, was shot while being chased through the port’s parking lot by gunmen before he jumped into the sea. He was unconscious when he was pulled from the water and later died of his injuries.

The port and nearby promenade is a popular entertainment center, frequented by thousands of visitors at weekends.

Fourteen shots were fired by the two gunmen who chased Qazaz through the parking lot, according to the initial police probe.

An unnamed police official told the network that the criminals’ willingness to carry out the attack in such conditions, where many others could have been hurt, showed an erosion of police deterrence and was very concerning.

Medics and police officers are seen near the scene of a shooting at Jaffa’s port, on October 23, 2021; Insert: Abed Qazaz. (Magen David Adom; Courtesy)

Qazaz was released from prison a year and a half ago, after being involved in an incident where a police officer was run over, according to the Ynet news site.

Previously he had been jailed for six years in a plea deal over the kidnapping and killing of a rival businessman in 2005.

He was also known as a former associate of the criminal boss Izat Hamad, who was shot dead in July in Tel Aviv.

Police officials told Channel 12 that they ruled out the possibility of Qazaz’s killing being revenge for Hamad’s assassination, but rather it seemed to be a criminal rival of both men.

Izat Hamad (Youtube / Channel 10 screenshot)

“Someone marked Izat Hamad’s organization and hit him. After Izat’s assassination, there seemed to be a lull, but whoever did this, was especially waiting to murder [Qazaz],” an unnamed police official told Ynet.

Since the beginning of 2021, there have been 104 homicides in Arab communities, according to the Abraham Initiatives nonprofit. Some 89 were citizens of Israel, and another 15 were Palestinians, either from East Jerusalem or with Israeli residency.

With over two months left in the year, 2021 is already set to be the bloodiest year for the Arab community since a crime wave began there several years ago.

Officials blame the violence on powerful organized crime rackets that have emerged following decades of state neglect and lawlessness in Arab cities and towns.

Separately on Saturday, an Arab man in his 20s was shot and moderately wounded near the northern town of I’billin. He was taken to Haifa’s Rambam Medical Center, along with another man suffering from anxiety who witnessed the incident.

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