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A Tira resident in his 20s was shot dead on Tuesday by a masked man, in the northern town's industrial area.

According to eyewitness reports, the gunman fired at the victim several times from behind before fleeing the scene.

Sharon Region Police are still combing the area for suspects. Magen David Adom rescue personnel gave the man first aid at the scene before evacuating him to a local hospital where he died of his wounds.

A sharp rise in crime in Israel recently has seen a hike of 50 percent in demands for firearm permits, the Interior Ministry said this week.

The ministry said it has received 1,000 requests for firearm permits this year, compared to 500 in previous years. Beyond first-time requests for a firearm license, there is also a significant increase in the number of appeals lodged by citizens whose requests have been turned down.

Civilians' requests are granted according to a few criteria such as occupation and place of residence. Citizens living in towns and cities in the West Bank are considered as living in high-risk areas and their requests more often end in a license, as do requests by civilians living near the Green Line.

By contrast, more requests are rejected in northern Israel because more permit seekers from that part of the country do not meet the criteria. "I suppose the hike in demand is a reaction to what's happening in terms of personal security," Yaakov Amit, director of the ministry's firearm permit department, said in an interview with Haaretz.