16-year-old Israeli Shot Dead in Central Israel

Neighbors say teenager was sitting in front of apartment building in Ramle when he was killed by an unknown assailant

Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner
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The scene of a shooting in Ramle on January 4, 2019.
The scene of a shooting in Ramle on January 4, 2019.
Josh Breiner
Josh Breiner

A 16-year-old boy was shot dead in Ramle's Juarish neighborhood on Saturday, and police are investigating the case as a possible murder.

A neighbor said Mahmoud Atawna was "just a boy – an educated, good and disciplined boy. [He] came from a good home, he would play with everyone in the neighborhood... [With the new year] we have begun a new count of murder victims in the Arab community, and we hope he will be the last."

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According to neighbors, Atawna was sitting at the entrance to the building in which his family lives when an unknown assailant shot him.

Mahmoud Atawna.Credit:

A member of the family criticized police, saying, "Where are they every day? If a 16-year-old boy was murdered somewhere else in the country, the entire police is on its feet and catch [the suspect] in two hours, but if a boy is murdered in Ramle they don't care, because it's good for them that the Arabs murder Arabs."

Police suspect that the kiling was related to a preexisting conflict between the Atawna family and other clans in Ramle and Lod. 

In August, a businessman was shot and killed as he was driving in the same neighborhood. The 48-year-old was a local resident and was known as an affluent person who split his time between Israel and London.

That same month, a 23-year-old was shot dead in a public park in the city in what police suspected was a confrontation between criminals. During the victim's funeral procession, a 24-year-old – apparently a relative – was also shot dead.

On Monday, the fatal shooting of a 23-year-old in Jaffa was 2019's 91st murder of an Israeli Arab.