Police Arrests Seven Men Suspected of Shooting Police Car in Northern Arab Israeli Town

Initial probe reveals that men opened fire after police signaled a vehicle without front license plate to pull over ■ No casualties reported

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The police car damaged by the shooting in Deir al-Assad, Israel, November 23, 2019.
The police car damaged by the shooting in Deir al-Assad, Israel, November 23, 2019.

Israel Police arrested on Saturday seven men from the Arab Israeli village of Deir al-Assad in northern Israel who are suspected to have opened fire on a police car in the village earlier in the day.

According to an initial investigation, the suspects opened fire after police officers signaled them to stop their vehicle, which was missing a front license plate. The bullets hit the police car's windshield and pierced one of its tires. The officers returned fire as the suspects' vehicle drove off, the police statement said.

Following the shooting, a large number of officers, including senior police officials, arrived in Deir al-Assad. The police launched a search for the shooters, posted checkpoints in the surrounding area and used a helicopter to patrol the area.

The suspects were taken in for questioning, police said, adding forces were still canvassing the area in search of others that may have been involved in the incident.

Interim Police Commissioner Moti Cohen strongly condemned the shooting. "Shooting at police officers who are enforcing the law represents a dangerous escalation and requires a decisive and uncompromising response," he said, "Those responsible will pay a full price. A whole section of society suffers from widespread violence and police forces will not rest or stand by until full security is returned to Arab communities."