A 28-year-old woman was shot dead Friday night while driving in the central town of Ramle, the 71st Arab Israeli to be killed this year as a result of the violence that continues to plague the community.
Police suspect that the woman, identified as Lorin Musrati, was targeted by the family of her late husband — who was also gunned down in 2015. They opposed the victim’s decision to leave the city of Ramle with her children in order to move to Haifa after her husband was killed, the Haaretz daily reported, adding that law enforcement was also looking into other motives for the attack.
Police believe the suspect drove past the victim’s vehicle, fired at her and fled.
Paramedics were dispatched to the scene, but were forced to declare her death upon arrival.
The suspect remained at large and police were gathering evidence, including security camera footage, near the Ramblas shopping center in Ramle where the shooting took place.
It was not immediately clear why the victim was in Ramle on the night of the shooting.
There were three other shootings that took place in towns with large Arab populations on Friday.
In the northern village of Jadeidi-Makr, two residents were injured, one seriously and one moderately, by gunfire and were taken to the Galilee Medical Center in Nahariya for treatment. The circumstances of the shooting were not immediately clear.
In Haifa, police were investigating the shooting of a 35-year-old resident who was seriously injured and being treated at Rambam Hospital in the city.
In Kafr Qassem, two people were moderately injured in another shooting. The victims were taken to Beilinson Hospital in Petah Tikva for treatment.
According to the Abraham Initiatives nonprofit, 71 Arab Israelis have been killed in homicides since the beginning of 2021, 11 of them were women. In 2020, 96 Arab Israelis were killed, by far the highest annual toll in recent memory.
Another 12 Palestinians from West Bank and East Jerusalem were killed inside Israel in apparent homicides.
Arab cities and towns have seen a surge in violence in recent years, with organized crime seen as the main driver.
Arab Israelis 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.
According to a 2020 Knesset report, some 400,000 illegal weapons are circulating in Israel, the vast majority in Arab communities.
Last month, 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.