ISRAEL AT WAR - DAY 141

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Yarka man shot and killed outside his own hummus restaurant

Anan Habish murdered as he opened eatery for business; killing is 11th homicide in Arab community since start of 2024

Police at the murder scene in Yarka where Anan Habish was killed, February 3, 2024. (Israel Police spokesperson)
Police at the murder scene in Yarka where Anan Habish was killed, February 3, 2024. (Israel Police spokesperson)

A man in his early 40s was shot dead in Yarka on Saturday morning, police said, with the man victim reportedly killed at the entrance to his restaurant.

The shooting is being investigated as a murder. There were no reports of any arrests made in connection with the killing.

Police said the man was critically injured in the shooting, and was pronounced dead by emergency services on the scene.

Hebrew-language media identified the victim as Anan Habish, and said he was killed at the entrance to his own hummus restaurant as he was opening it for business.

The Abraham Initiatives, a coexistence advocacy group that tracks violence in the Arab community, said that Habish’s murder marked the eleventh Arab homicide since the start of 2024, up one from the same period in 2023, which, according to the organization, was the bloodiest year on record for the community.

Two hundred and forty-four Arabs were killed in Israel in violent criminal circumstances last year, over twice as many as in 2022.

Overnight, Adnan Shehadeh of Deir Hanna, an Arab village in the Lower Galilee, died of wounds he had sustained two weeks earlier in an altercation between two rival families, the Kan public broadcaster reported.

On Friday, Khaled Abu Juda, the head of an Arab crime organization in northern Israel, was killed on Route 6, outside of Baqa al-Gharbiya, after three masked assailants pulled up close to his car and opened fire.

Many Arab community leaders put the blame on 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.

The communities have also suffered from years of neglect by state authorities. More than half of Arab Israelis live below the poverty line, and their cities and towns often have crumbling infrastructure and poor public services. The minister in charge of police, Itamar Ben Gvir, has a long history of incendiary comments and stances against Israeli Arabs, and the community’s leaders have argued that his policies have only intensified the epidemic of violence over the last year.

For their part, 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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