East Jerusalem Woman Shot Dead Amid Family Altercation

Locals say 21-year-old Mareem Altakruri was returning home from prayers when she was caught in the crossfire of two feuding families

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Mareem Altakruri
Mareem Altakruri Credit: Courtesy of the family

A 21-year-old woman was killed and four others were wounded during an altercation that broke out Sunday overnight in Wadi al-Joz in East Jerusalem. 

Witnesses said Mareem Altakruri was hit by a stray bullet during the feud.

Altakruri was returning home from prayers at the Al-Aqsa compound when the altercation was unfolding, according to residents of Wadi al-Joz.

Police arrive at the Israeli Arab town of Deir al-Asad, yesterdayCredit: Israel Police spokesperson Unit

Jerusalem Police said in a statement that they were called just before midnight on Saturday, and that "weapons, Molotov cocktails, and fireworks" were used in the incident that led to her death.

Altakruri's mother, Aisha, said she was standing next to her when she was shot. "We told me, 'mom, something went into my chest," she recalled. She cried for help and her uncle used a neighbor's car to drive the young woman to Makassed Hospital in East Jerusalem.

Relatives of the victim say police did not move quickly to try and break up the large brawl that resulted in her death. Mareem's uncle, Jamal Altakruri, said he had called the police some 40 minutes before the shooting. "I called the police two hours after it started and they told me they were coming," he said. "The station is a five-minute walk away, a minute and a half by car. No one came. After 40 minutes, they shot her."

The brawl, which residents said erupted after a fight between children, involved several dozen people. The rival families began a process of reconciliation after Altakruri's killing. Among the five people wounded in the incident was Talib Idris, who was seriously wounded and, according to locals, was not part of the confrontation but arrived to try and separate the clashing sides.

The police said they arrived at the scene "to restore order" and that they detained two suspects for questioning. 

Tensions are high in the Wadi al-Joz neighborhood, following ongoing conflicts between the Al-Ajlouni and Abu Ghraiba families. Despite efforts to calm tensions, confrontations erupt every few days, causing damage to houses and other property.

Earlier this week, two men were killed and two youths were wounded in a shooting Friday in the Israeli Arab town of Deir al-Asad in what appears to be the result of a feud between families.

Ahmad Sanallah, 29, and Hafez Senallah, 23, sustained gun wounds to their abdomen and upper and lower body. They were taken in critical condition to Western Galilee Hospital in Nahariya and were later pronounced dead. The two men were relatives.

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