Siblings Charged With Murder of Senior Islamic Figure in Jaffa

The killing appears to be part of an ongoing conflict between crime groups in the city, although the victim, Mohammed Abu Najm, was not the intended target

Ran Shimoni
Ran Shimoni
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The scene of Mohammed Abu Najm's murder in Jaffa, January.
The scene of Mohammed Abu Najm's murder in Jaffa, January.Credit: Ofer Vaknin
Ran Shimoni
Ran Shimoni

A brother and sister from Jaffa were charged Thursday with the murder of a senior Islamic figure in January, as part of a dispute between crime groups.

Orhan Turk was charged with shooting Mohammed Abu Najm, a senior leader of the Islamic Movement in Jaffa, who had no criminal record. His sister, Sabriya Boab, is charged with helping her brother flee and for being an accomplice in the planning of the alleged murder. The two are also charged with the attempted murder of Abu Najm's brother-in-law, Omar Kurdi, who was with him in the car and seriously wounded.

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Kurdi is presumed to be the real target of the killing, as Najm wasn't affiliated with the local crime disputes.

The indictment, filed in the Tel Aviv District Court, accuses the two of wanting to kill Kurdi because they thought he was responsible for the throwing of stun grenades and firebombs at their house the day before. The siblings were arrested half a year after the murder, along with three other suspects.

Video of the incident shows a masked man in camouflaged clothing leaving Boab’s home, shooting at the car Abu Najm and Kurdi were in. The masked figure then enters a car with Boab in it, and prosecutors claim this man is Turk.

The police described Boab's role in the killing as “central,” and suspected that she planned to harm others as part of the family feud. These alleged plots are believed to be revenge for the murder last year of Rashid Doikhat, a criminal who belonged to Turk and Kurdi’s side.

A covert recording was appended to the indictment in which Boab, who lived near Abu Najm, can be heard linking herself to the murder. She was recorded telling her husband he “hit him in the brain."

“No one was there. The only one who saw me fleeing with the car was his mother [sic].” She said about Abu Najm that “We didn’t see it was him,” and Kurdi “shouldn’t have woken up, so no one would have known anything.”

After the murder, Jaffa residents said that Abu Najm was not connected to the feud or other acts of violence – unlike Kurdi. In Jaffa, his death stood out because of the response to it, as hundreds attended his funeral. Abu Najm was a central figure in Arab society in the city, and was a mediator who settled disputes among the community.

Mohammed Abu NajmCredit: Mohammed Abu Najm

Over the past two years, 11 murders have occurred as part of the conflict between criminal groups in Jaffa, and only a few have been solved so far. The police attribute five of the murders to the dispute that led to Abu Najm’s death. The crime families are said to be battling for control of the drug trade in the area, among other things.

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