Explosives Planted at Home of Israeli Arab Journalist

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Hassan Shaalan stands in his home, partially destroyed from an explosive, in Taibeh, Israel, on Thursday.
Hassan Shaalan stands in his home, partially destroyed from an explosive, in Taibeh, Israel, on Thursday.Credit: Courtesy of Hassan Shaalan

An explosive device was planted overnight Thursday at the home of journalist Hassan Shaalan, an Arab reporter for the Israeli news site Ynet. The explosion caused severe damage to two stories of his home in the central city of Taibeh, and no casualties were reported.

Two weeks earlier, Shaalan's home had been targeted in a shooting. No casualties were reported and police said that they had opened an investigation. No suspects have been apprehended.

Shaalan told Haaretz that he does not know who would be seeking to harm or threaten him and his family. "There's no explanation for it, I don't know what to do or whom to turn to," Shaalan said. "The police are investigating this incident like the last one, and I haven't heard of any arrests or anything. I'm afraid for my life, my family members' lives. The first time it was gunfire, now a bomb near the house, I don't know where to run to," Shaalan said.

In response to the explosion, Israel Police stated that "as soon as the events took place, investigations were opened in the districts concerned, and as they progress, all avenues will be investigated."

The home of journalist Hassan Shaalan, which suffered severe damage after an explosive went off, in Taibeh, Israel, Thursday night. Credit: Courtesy of Hassan Shaalan

"Although naturally we cannot detail ongoing investigations, we emphasize that Israel Police takes such events very seriously, especially when directed at journalists and media personnel in connection with the fulfillment of their duties. Therefore all necessary actions will be taken to investigate the truth and reach a verdict for those involved."

The Israeli Journalists Association wrote on Twitter, "Terrorizing and harming journalists crosses a red line and is a serious blow to the public's best interest. We call on the police to carry out the investigation and apprehend the perpetrators as soon as possible. We stand beside journalist Hassan Shaalan in every possible manner."

In early June, shots were fired at Shaalan's home and car, penetrating the wall to his children's bedroom. "The bullets went over the children's heads, it's a miracle that they survived," Shaalan told Haaretz.

"I do not know who is behind this," said Shaalan, who covers the Arab community for Ynet. "I have not received any threats before. If anyone has anything against me, let them say so publicly."

He added that he has no enemies and that he "lives a simple life" and spends his spare time serving his community.

Shaalan has received death threats in the past due to his reporting, but nothing specifically has stood out that he felt might be related to the shooting.

Labor MK Omer Bar-Lev, Israel's new public security minister, wrote on Twitter Friday: "This morning, I spoke with Ynet journalist Hassan Shaalan, following the shooting at his family in Taibeh two weeks ago and the planting of explosives in his house last night. I told him that Israel Police is taking the threats against him seriously and that I will not allow violence against journalists take place during my term without a response."

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