55-year-old Man Shot Dead in Nazareth as Israel's Arab Community Claims 91st Victim This Year

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Nazareth.
Nazareth.Credit: Dan Perez

A 55-year-old man was shot dead in Nazareth on Friday, in the third murder in the Arab community in Israel in the last 24 hours. 

The man was identified as Naim Suri, who recently served a 32-year-prison sentence for murder and other crimes. He was released from prison four months ago. Police have opened an investigation into the incident, which they believe to be related to a dispute between gangs.

Suri was found unconscious with gunshot wounds to his body, Magen David Adom medics reported. He was pronounced dead at the scene. 

Suri's suspected murder is the third reported in the last 24 hours, following a murder in Haifa and Petah Tikva.

On Thursday night, Haifa resident Hussam Othman, 24, was shot dead while sitting in his car in the city. Police have launched an investigation, but no suspects have been identified yet. 

Suri is the 91st person to be killed in the Arab community in circumstances involving violence and crime.

For many years, Suri was considered one of the most dangerous offenders in prison. In 1989, he was sentenced to 10 years in prison for violent offenses. In 2004, after his release, he killed a man and was charged with another 15 years. A year later, he was sentenced to an additional three years after stabbing a man in a detention center in Tiberias. While incarcerated, Suri was kept in solitary confinement for many years over fears that he would harm other inmates. 

Also on Friday, police opened an investigation into a shooting incident in Umm al-Fahm, an Arab city in the triangle region of Israel. Shots were fired at a group of people in a vehicle, in which a 6-year-old was seriously injured. He was accompanied by his 26-year-old uncle, who was moderately injured, and his wife, 19, was mildly injured. The man and his nephew were evacuated to Haemek Hospital in the northern city of Afula for medical treatment. 

The injured boy's grandfather told Haaretz that the boy was going to a wedding with his family, when the shooting happened near his uncle's home. According to the grandfather the child was conscious after the shooting and went to his uncle's house to show the injuries to his mother who was there at the time. The boy underwent surgery overnight and was transferred to the children's intensive care unit in serious but stable condition.

The child's uncle has no criminal history, increasing the possibility that the incident was a case of mistaken identity. According to the police, the unknown shooter opened fire while riding a motorcycle and then escaped the scene. It is still unclear what motivated the attack.  

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