Woman shot dead in south, in 4th fatality in Arab community in 48 hours

Police officials say 42-year-old Somia al-Talalka of Lakiya was likely murdered; 93 Arabs killed in violent incidents in Israel since the beginning of the year

Police at the scene of a shooting in Lakiya on Septembe 25, 2021 (Israel Police)
Police at the scene of a shooting in Lakiya on Septembe 25, 2021 (Israel Police)

A woman in her 40s was shot dead in a southern Bedouin town on Saturday night, the fourth fatality in two days, as the deadly violence in the Arab community showed no sign of slowing.

The victim was brought to a local health clinic in Lakiya, just north of Beersheba in the northern Negev, where Magen David Adom medics declared her death.

The 42-year-old woman was later identified as Somia al-Talalka, a mother of four.

Police said that its officers were at the scene investigating the matter. It was also looking into a report that the shooting may have been an accidental misfire. But police officials said that it was more likely that the woman was killed as part of a case of domestic abuse, according to the Kan public broadcaster. According to Kan, her ex-husband lives in the Gaza Strip.

Violent crime has risen to record levels in Arab communities in recent years, with 78 Arab Israeli citizens killed in apparent homicides since 2021 began, according to a tally by the Abraham Initiatives nonprofit. Another 15 Palestinians have been killed in Israeli territory.

Thirteen of those killed in violent and crime-related incidents this year were women, the nonprofit said.

Last year, 96 Arab Israelis were killed in communal violence.

A view of the town of Lakiya, on April 1, 2014. (Hadas Parush/Flash90)

The Lakiya shooting came less than a day after a 30-year-old man of the nearby Bedouin town of Shaqib al-Salam (Segev Shalom) was shot dead in central Beersheba.

Also on Friday, a 55-year-old man was shot dead in the northern town of Nazareth, a six-year-old boy and his parents were injured by gunfire in the northern town of Umm al-Fahm, and numerous other shooting incidents were reported in other Arab towns with no injuries.

Those incidents followed another murder late Thursday night, which took the life of 24-year-old Hosam Otman.

Authorities have vowed to devote more resources to battling crime in Arab locales, after a series of recent shootings triggered the online #Arab_Lives_Matter campaign to protest the alleged lack of police action.

Dozens gathered on Saturday to protests against the continuing violence, near the home of Public Security Minister Omer Barlev in Kochav Ya’ir.

On Friday morning, police raided dozens of homes in Arab towns across northern Israel, arresting 15 people and seizing guns and cash, as part of efforts to crack down on surging violent crime in Arab Israeli communities.

Officers raided 63 homes in Arab and Druze towns across the north, arresting 15 suspects on suspicion of violence, extortion and money laundering. None of the suspects were named.

According to a 2020 Knesset report, some 400,000 illegal weapons are circulating in Israel, the vast majority in Arab communities.

In July, Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said that violence and crime in Arab Israeli communities was a “national calamity,” as he met with senior government and police officials to formulate a national plan to tackle the issue.

Times of Israel staff contributed to this report.

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