Police say deadly shooting in Arab town solved; 4 men to be charged

Police say deadly shooting in Arab town solved; 4 men to be charged

Pre-indictment papers filed against suspects in killing of Ovad Latif Qassem in central city of Qalansawe last month

Screen capture from video of a deadly shooting in the Arab Israeli city of Qalansawe, September 6, 2019. (Channel 13)
Screen capture from video of a deadly shooting in the Arab Israeli city of Qalansawe, September 6, 2019. (Channel 13)

Police on Sunday said they have solved the case of a deadly shooting last month in the central Arab Israeli city of Qalansawe.

Four men are to be charged in the killing of Ovad Latif Qassem, the force said in a statement.

The statement came as Arab Israeli political leaders and civic groups pushed for large protests and slammed the government over alleged inaction on violence in their communities.

Pre-indictment papers were filed against the four men at Petah Tikva Magistrate’s Court on Thursday for the murder of Qassem, who was shot in his car on September 6, Channel 13 television news reported Sunday, after details of the case were approved for publication.

Qassem died of his injuries in a hospital five days later.

Mohammad Kahman, 24, is to be charged with murder, while Ihab Kahman, 26, and two other unnamed men will be charged with other offenses in the case.

There was apparently an ongoing dispute between the four men and Qassem, police said.

The attack was captured on security cameras and showed the four men attacking Qassem.

Ihab Kahman assaulted Qassem with a club and then, as the victim attempted to escape in his car, smashed the window of the vehicle. Three more men then arrived, one of whom was Mohammad Kahman, who pulled out a gun and fired several times at the car, injuring Qassem. The victim died in the hospital from a head injury from the gunfire.

Ihab Kahman was arrested after the incident. Mohamad Kahman and the two other men with him fled the scene by car and escaped to Palestinian Authority-controlled areas in the West Bank.

Two weeks later, they gave themselves up to Israeli security forces.

Details of the case were previously placed under a court-ordered gag order. Police said it was the 31st murder case officers have solved in the Arab community this year.

Hundreds of Arab Israelis demonstrated Saturday at several locations in the country in protest against violence and murders within Arab communities.

The Arab Higher Monitoring Committee, the umbrella body of Arab Israeli organizations, announced plans for ongoing protest actions, including a convoy of vehicles from communities in the north and south that would head toward the Prime Minister’s Office in Jerusalem.

On Friday, thousands demonstrated, blocking roads, including sections of major highways in the north of the country.

Additional demonstrations were held across the country and a general strike was called throughout the Arab community.

Israeli Arabs protest against violence, organized crime and recent killings in their communities in the town of Majd al-Krum, northen Israel, October 3, 2019. (David Cohen/FLASH90)

Police say there have been more than 70 killings in Arab communities this year, nearly as many as in each of the past two years, when Arabs, who are 20 percent of the general population, made up more than half of all murder victims nationwide. Last week, two brothers and a third individual were killed in a brawl involving guns and knives in Majd al-Krum.

Arab leaders say the Israel Police largely ignore the violence in their communities, everything from family feuds and mafia turf wars to domestic violence and so-called honor killings.

Mass protests are planned for October 21 and 27 outside police headquarters in Nazareth and Ramle, respectively. On October 27, organizers plan to set up protest tents outside government offices in the capital.

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