19-year-old relative of crime family head shot dead amid spike in violence

Mahdi Hariri killed, another wounded in attack said to be part of internal dispute between factions; 2 injured by gunfire in Jerusalem; 8 killed across country in less than a week

Mahdi Hariri (Courtesy)
Mahdi Hariri (Courtesy)

A 19-year-old was killed and three others were injured in two suspected criminal shootings overnight Friday-Saturday, amid a string of suspected homicides across the country in recent days.

The young man was shot at point blank range near the Eyal Interchange on Highway 6, north of Tel Aviv. He was taken to a hospital in Kfar Saba, where he was declared dead.

The victim was later named as Mahdi Hariri from Umm al-Fahm.

He was the son of the head of the Hariri crime family, according to some Hebrew-language media reports. Others said he was the man’s nephew.

A man in his 20s was also moderately injured in the incident.

Witnesses told the Haaretz daily that the vehicle the two men were driving in was blocked by another car on the highway. A gunman then exited the second vehicle and opened fire.

The newspaper said it was believed that the shooting was part of an internal dispute between rival factions in the criminal organization.

Hours earlier, in an apparently separate incident, two men in their 40s were badly wounded in a shooting on Hebron Road in Jerusalem.

Police opened an investigation into the shooting, which was not believed to be a terror attack.

First responders took the men to Jerusalem hospitals for treatment. Both were residents of East Jerusalem, Hebrew media reports said.

Also Friday, a woman in her 60s from the Arab-majority town of Kfar Bara was taken to a hospital in Petah Tikvah with injuries to her head. Her husband was suspected of hurling an object at her, causing the wound. Other reports said she had been stabbed.

Police arrested the husband, a man in his 60s. He was taken to a police station for interrogation.

Arab communities have seen a rising wave of violence in recent years. The violence includes family feuds, mafia turf wars and violence against women.

Some blame the police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely turn a blind eye to the violence.

According to the anti-violence campaign group The Abraham Initiatives, 61 members of the Arab community have been killed in violent incidents since the start of the year, mostly in shootings.

The incidents followed a spike in suspected homicides across Israel this week in both Arab and Jewish communities, with eight people killed in less than a week.

Three residents of the central city of Holon have been killed in suspected murders in recent days.

A man from Holon was stabbed to death on Friday, another was shot dead in a suspected underworld hit overnight Wednesday-Thursday, and a third killed in a shooting hours earlier.

Also Thursday, a 33-year-old woman was found dead in her home in the southern Bedouin village of Abu Karinat, suffering signs of abuse, police said.

On Wednesday, a man was fatally wounded in a shooting in the northern Arab town of Kafr Yasif.

The same day, a 25-year-old resident of the central Haredi city of Elad was shot dead.

Amid the spike in homicides, far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir called Thursday for holding suspects without charge as a means to combat violent crime.

Most Popular
read more: