Woman shot dead in front of her children at their home in northern town

Medics rush Bayan Nassar Abbas, 29, to hospital but doctors declare her dead after arrival; preliminary police report suggests gunman aimed to fire at house and not harm anyone

Michael Horovitz is a breaking news editor at The Times of Israel

Undated photo of Bayan Nassar Abbas. (Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)
Undated photo of Bayan Nassar Abbas. (Used in accordance with Clause 27a of the Copyright Law)

A woman was shot dead outside her home and in front of her children in the northern Arab town of Kafr Kanna on Sunday, police and medics said.

Medics found Bayan Nassar Abbas, 29, severely wounded, and tried to resuscitate her while rushing her to the English Hospital in Nazareth, according to a statement from the Magen David Adom ambulance service.

Doctors declared her dead shortly after arrival, the statement read.

A relative of Abbas told Channel 12 news that a man drove up by the house on a motorcycle and fired toward it.

According to multiple media reports, the victim was sitting with her children on her porch when she was shot.

Police said they had opened an investigation into the incident. According to a preliminary investigation, the assailant likely intended to fire at the home but not harm anyone.

Ynet reported Monday that Abbas had just finished a video call with her father Ahmad Nasser when the shooting started.

He had told her to “look after yourself and the children, I am waiting for you to come and visit me.”

Nahim Abbas, a relative and friend of Bayan, told Ynet that she believed Bayan was deliberately targeted.

Immediately after the shooting, Nahim received a phone call that “they shot Bayan, come” she said. “When I arrived, she was already dead.”

“This bullet was on purpose,” she said and claimed the gunman is the same person who killed her grandfather in 2010 when a feud started.

“He aimed at the home, saw her running away, and fired,” Nahim said. She also claimed police know who the shooter is.

Police believe that Abbas was killed by a stray bullet, a version of the events backed up by residents who witnessed the shooting, according to the report.

Police arrive at the scene of the shooting of 29-year-old Bayan Nassar Abbas in the northern town of Kafr Kanna, March 12, 2023. (Video screenshot)

Bayan’s husband in the past suffered light to moderate injuries when he was shot in the leg and his father was killed 12 years ago, Ynet said.

Nahim Abbas said there is a general sense of fear in the town and that police are ineffective, fearing also for their own lives.

“Everyone is under threat,” she said.

Israel Police said in a statement that two suspects were arrested on suspicion of involvement in the shooting. Police said the incident was apparently related to an ongoing conflict that has seen others convicted and given long prison sentences.

Hagit Pe’er, chair of the women’s rights organization Na’amat, said in a statement that “violence runs wild while our elected officials continue to be involved with themselves instead of life itself.”

Pe’er charged the government was dragging its feet on urgent legislation that could protect lives.

“Regardless of the specific background of tonight’s event, it somehow illustrates the government’s priorities,” Pe’er said.

According to the anti-violence campaign group the Abraham Initiatives, 31 Arabs have been killed by violence and crime since the start of the year. Of those, 29 were Israeli citizens and two were Palestinians from East Jerusalem or the surrounding region.

Arab communities have seen a rising wave of violence in recent years. Many blame the police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore the violence, which includes family feuds, mafia turf wars, and violence against women.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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