Three Arab Men Killed in 24 Hours as Death Toll in Arab Community Rises

Arab Israeli leaders demand answers as Anas Wahwaah, 18, was shot to death in his car in Lod, shortly after Ibrahim Nasser Abu Amra, in his 30s, was shot outside his home in the southern Bedouin town of Tel Sheva

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Police at the crime scene in Lod, on Saturday.
Police at the crime scene in Lod, on Saturday.Credit: Ilan Assayag

Three men were shot to death within 24 hours in different parts of Israel over the weekend, as the death toll of violence in the Arab community continues to grow. Two of the suspected murders are believed to be the result of separate family disputes.

A 26-year-old man was shot and killed on Saturday in the Arab village of Kafr Qasem. The victim, Abed al-Aziz Qurmata from Jaljulia, was arrested five months ago on suspicion of weaponry trade, and three years ago he has been allegedly involved in a shooting in his hiometown.

Abed al-Aziz Qurmata.

A man in his 30s was shot to death on Friday night next to his home in the southern Bedouin town of Tel Sheva. Ibrahim Nasser Abu Amra was shot on the street, and evacuated to Soroka Medical Center in Be'er Sheva, where he was pronounced dead. Police have opened an investigation.

Ibrahim Nasser Abu Amra.

An 18-year-old man was shot dead on Saturday near the market in the central city of Lod. Anas Wahwaah, a resident of the city, was sitting in the driver's seat of his car at the time, with his mother seated beside him.

Wahwaah was shot in the head and taken to Shamir Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead. The police believe the shooting was a murder and part of a larger feud between families. This would be Lod's fourth murder since the beginning of the year.

Anas Wahwaah.

Police believe that Wahwaah was shot in retaliation for the killing of Husam Musrati about three weeks ago in the city. An acquaintance of the family told Haaretz that there was an attempt to harm the teenager's father about two weeks prior to the shooting.

Wahwaah was not directly involved in the conflict, police believe, but was likely killed because he is considered an easy target. A senior police source added that the circle of victims in the family dispute is broadening, and innocent family members are being killed as well.

"He's a good kid, quiet. His nuclear family doesn't have any conflicts," a friend of the family said. In his high school year book, Wahwaah was described as "an outstanding and excellent student, who volunteers a lot in the community in Lod and Ramle."

Since the beginning of this year, 75 Arabs have been killed in Israel in acts of violence and crime, and six have been killed by police, data from the Abraham Initiatives non-profit says. Of those victims, 11 are women, and 59 of the deaths were in shootings.

In response to the two shootings, The National Committee of Arab Mayors in Israel said in a statement: "We once again discovered that Israel is in part a state of law and in part the Wild West. The south and mixed cities have turned into battlefields which demand action and targeted treatment. We demand immediate explanations from the police commissioner as to how the police plans to act against the crime wave. Our blood cannot continue to be cheap."   

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