Police Arrest Eight Suspects in Drive-by Shooting of Israeli Arab Woman

A week before the 33-year-old mother of three was murdered, police disarmed a bomb that was placed in her car

Samar Khatib's family protesting violence against women in Tel Aviv, Israel, December 4, 2018.
Tomer Appelbaum

The Israel Police announced on Tuesday the arrest of eight people suspected of involvement in the murder of Samar Khatib, an Israeli Arab woman from Jaffa, in May 2018.

The suspects, who knew Khatib before the murder, are also thought to have placed a bomb in her car a week before she was murdered. At the time, the explosive device was disarmed by a police sapper, and security cameras documented its planting. 

Khatib, 33-years-old at the time of her death and a mother of three, was in a car with her friend when the drive-by-shooting ocurred. Her 23-year-old friend was critically injured and Khatib was pronounced dead at the scene.

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The police will ask to extend the detention of the suspects at the Tel Aviv Magistrate’s Court on Tuesday. A gag order has been placed on the investigation and identities of the suspects.

Khatib’s family said she asked the police for help after the bomb was found in her car, and that the police offered her protection in a hostel. She agreed, but wanted to bring along her three children – aged 11, 12 and 13. The hostel refused to accept the 13-year-old boy so she did not enter, and was thus left without protection.

Sarit, Samar’s sister, told Haaretz on Tuesday that she hoped justice would be done and that those arrested would be found guilty for the murder. The sister, who participated in a demonstration against the murder of women in December, said that Samar’s children were in a very difficult psychological state since their mother’s death. “They barely go to school, are frustrated, undergoing treatments. Whoever murdered Samar murdered her children along with her.”

At the funeral, Samar’s brother said the family was having a hard time accepting the disaster and that they had no explanation of why the brutal murder occurred.

At the time of the shooting, police suspected it was related to organized crime in Jaffa, and a police source said Khatib and her family had been involved in criminal activity.