Central district police arrested Thursday a man suspected of ordering the murder of Amal Khalili, 27, who was shot dead in front of her two children in Lod earlier this week. The suspect, Khalili's former brother-in-law, allegedly flew out of the country on the night of the murder, and was arrested upon his return the following day.
Khalili was the second murder victim this week in the crime-ridden city bordering Ben Gurion airport. Her murder occurred only a day after the killing in Lod of Sami Hijazi, who was similarly gunned down in the city center in front of his 13-year-old daughter.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, Interior Minister Eli Yishai (Shas) and Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovitch (Yisrael Beiteinu ) are expected to visit Lod later on Thursday to participate in an emergency meeting regarding the city's souring crime rates.
Following the second murder, Aharonovitch pledged a joint police, army and Shin Bet operation to collect illegal weapons in Lod.
Lod Mayor Ilan Harari tried calling a meeting with 40 representatives of the Arab community yesterday, but only six confirmed their attendance.
"The city establishment has been an enemy to us for years," said local resident Mouhrab Zuheir. "We can't just suddenly start working together. Today, they want our help to catch the criminals and find the guns, but all through the year they are fighting us and demolishing our homes. There's just no point."
Police yesterday criticized the mayor for failing to obtain money for more joint police and municipal patrol cars, as well as to maintain the city's closed-circuit TV cameras, none of which were operational.
There have been more than 8 murders in Lod, most of which have not been solved. Police have said that there are hundreds of illegal weapons stashed through out the city and have executed several raids in places such as the cemetery, where weapons were hidden in graves, and in mattresses in people's homes, in an attempt to cut down on the escalating crime rates.
According to police, due to high availability of illegal weapons in Lod the price rates have plummeted and anyone could theoretically purchase a gun today for NIS 3,000, a hand grenade for NIS 800 and a Kalashnikov riffle for NIS 15,000.
Khalili's recent murder occurred as she was driving in her car on Sokolov Street in Lod at around 3 A.M. yesterday, together with her daughter, 7, and her brother, 14. She slowed before a railroad track, and fire was directed at the car from just a few meters away. She was fatally wounded but managed to drive a few more meters. Her daughter was slightly injured by flying glass, and her brother was treated for shock.
The brother of murder victim Sami Hijazi, Hassan Hijazi, told Haaretz this week that the Israel Police were unwilling to solve murders when victims came from the city's Arab community. "Police have lost control of the city, and don't investigate the murders because they say it's an internal affair of family honor or a gang fight," he said. "I was born in Lod and can't remember a time like this. There was always a mess, but you'd know it only affected criminals. Today, there's a young generation that can kill over a parking spot."
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