Suspect Arrested After Man Shot Dead, Several Wounded at Wedding in Israel

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Police forces in Taibeh, in central Israel, Saturday night.
Police forces in Taibeh, in central Israel, Saturday night.Credit: Panorama Group

A suspect was arrested on Tuesday on suspicion of involvement with a deadly shooting a day earlier at a wedding. One person was killed and five injured after a man opened fire at the wedding in the central city of Taibeh on Monday, as gun violence continues to rage in Israel's Arab communities. 

The suspect, a 22-year-old resident of Taibeh, was located in an abandoned building in the city. 

Alaa Sarsour, 25, died from his wounds after being evacuated to Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava in critical condition. Another man was critically injured after being shot in his neck and is receiving medical treatment. One guest sustained moderate injuries to his limbs, and three others suffered mild injuries. 

According to police statements, the shooting is suspected to be criminally motivated. 

At least some of the injured guests are known to the police and have criminal records.

Alaa Sarsour, who died after being shot at a wedding in Taibeh, central Israel, on Monday.

Police said that the gunman arrived at the wedding bearing a weapon and shot at a group of young people. However, eyewitnesses told Haaretz that the shooter ambushed the group as they were leaving the wedding, shooting at them with an automatic firearm.

"It felt like a massacre, we heard a series of shots, the music was shut off and we started hearing those who were wounded scream," a guest who witnessed the shooting said. 

The groom's father, Nasser Barabra, told Haaretz that the suspect was a friend of his son and that he was a guest at the wedding. He said the suspect was dining with the other guests when he began firing indiscriminately.

"Suddenly we saw people running in panic," Barabra recalled. "At first we didn't know what was going on, until we saw the band and the singer running. We thought it was shooting in the air, but then we saw wounded people everywhere."

He added that the scene was "so frightening that it is indescribable. We must put an end to these crimes; it does not make sense that every day we lose young people."

A few months ago, a criminal dispute broke out between the suspect and some of the wedding guests in which the suspect was shot. There were recent attempts to reconcile, and those involved thought the conflict was almost over, the sources said. According to the groom's father, he invited the suspect to the wedding, which his rivals were attending, as a gesture of goodwill, but did not think he would actually come. Friends of the victim said none of them expected "the situation to develop into what it is."

On Tuesday, a 24-year-old man was shot to death as part of a feud between criminals in the Bedouin village of Zarzir in northern Israel, according to a police statement.

So far, 87 Arabs have lost their lives to violent crime in Israel this year, with 72 of the victims being Israeli citizens, according to the non-profit organization the Abraham Initiatives. In addition, six Israeli Arabs have been killed by police fire.

Twelve of the victims were women and 46 were under the age of 30. Of the 87 cases this year, 70 involved firearms.

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