Israel's Second Largest Arab City Declares General Strike After Police Shoot Dead Teen

The family blamed the police for the death of 17-year-old Mohammed Kiwan, while authorities are looking into the possibility that the case is related to another incident that night in which a cop was hit by a car

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Mohammed Kiwan.
Mohammed Kiwan.Credit: Courtesy of the family

The municipality of Umm al-Fahm has declared a general strike and a day of mourning after a 17-year-old resident of the northern Arab city in Israel succumbed to his wounds on Wednesday.

The teen, Mohammed Kiwan, was taken to Rambam Heath Care Campus in Haifa after being shot on Tuesday, and was declared dead the following day. About an hour prior to his evacuation from the scene, police arrived in the area amid reports that young Arab men were trying to attack Jewish motorists on Route 65 and prevent them from proceeding any further on the road. That Tuesday night was when the hostilities between Israel and Hamas expanded and when Hamas began firing rockets into the Tel Aviv area.

His family claims that he was shot by a police officer at the Mei Ami junction on the main highway in the area, Route 65. Authorities are looking into the possibility that the case is related to an incident that night on the highway in which an officer opened fire on a vehicle that had run over another police officer.

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"We accuse the Israel Police of committing a war crime in Gaza, Sheikh Jarrah and the Al-Aqsa Mosque," Umm al-Fahm municipality said in a statement, and also warned young people not to be "dragged into provocations of the police and the authorities."

At one point that night on the highway, an officer opened fire at a vehicle that ran over another police officer, but the car that was shot at has not been identified. The Justice Ministry’s police misconduct unit is examining whether Kiwan was one of the passengers and was hit by a bullets.

“As of now, there is no indication that there is any connection between these events,” the police said in a statement, “and at this moment, they are being investigated separately.” The investigation of the police shooting at the vehicle is being carried out, as is customary, by the Justice Ministry misconduct unit, the police said, and the police are investigating the shooting of Kiwan.

“We once again ask for responsibility and not to hastily jump to conclusions, particularly in these complicated times,” the police added.

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