Police say they foiled assassination attempt on Arab underworld figure

Cops say two armed suspects on ATV arrested while prowling near home of crime organization member in Shfaram

Police stand by an overturned all-terrain vehicle after chasing two suspects they believe were planning a hit on a mob figure in Shfaram, September 10, 2023 (Israel Police)
Police stand by an overturned all-terrain vehicle after chasing two suspects they believe were planning a hit on a mob figure in Shfaram, September 10, 2023 (Israel Police)

Border Police on Sunday prevented an attempt to assassinate a high-ranking figure in a crime organization in northern Israel, police said.

Hebrew media identified the ostensible target as Bilal Su’ad. Officials tied the attempted hit to the rising tide of killings in the Arab community and said it was the result of an ongoing blood feud between organizations.

Police said Su’ad attended a court hearing earlier in the day, after which he was released to his home in Shfaram, near Haifa. In preparation for this, and in light of intelligence obtained by police, cops patrolled near Su’ad’s home, during which time they identified two suspects nearby on an all-terrain vehicle.

The Border Policemen called on the suspects to stop and a chase ensued, police said. The two suspects lost control of the vehicle, fell off and were subsequently arrested. They were found to be carrying a handgun with a loaded clip, as well as face masks, gloves and a cellphone.

The two were arrested and taken for questioning. Police said they believed they had been planning an attempt on Su’ad’s life.

Israel is in the grip of an unprecedented wave of violence and murders in Arab communities that has pushed homicides to record levels.

The death toll in the Arab community this year stands at 171, according to the Abraham Initiatives anti-violence advocacy group, with the record-breaking pace of murders showing no sign of slowing. There were 75 murders over the same period last year.

Many community leaders blame the police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore the violence. They also point to decades of neglect and discrimination by government offices as the root cause of the problem.

Authorities have blamed burgeoning organized crime and the proliferation of weaponry, while some have pointed to a failure by communities to cooperate with law enforcement to root out criminals.

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