Two brothers living in Ramle in central Israel were indicted Wednesday for the murder of Sharifa Abu Muammar, who was shot to death in the city on August 31.
The two, Fares and Mohammed Alshamali, are also accused of attempting to murder a relative of Abu Muammar, of aggravated assault and battery, conspiracy to commit a crime and possession of a weapon and ammunition.
The incident was the seventh case of an innocent killed in crossfire between criminals in Israel's Arab community, which revived issues of rising violence and police inaction.
The defendants’ family, the Alshamalis, have had a long-standing, violent feud with the Abu Muammars. Members of both families met last month to reconcile. The meeting was held next to the homes of the murder victim and a relative. The two brothers, according to the indictment, planned to attack the Abu Muammars at the end of the meeting and even opened a WhatsApp group with other families to coordinate their plan.
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When the meeting ended, with only members of the Abu Muammar family remaining, the suspects went with others and allegedly ambushed a rival family member at a convenience store. When the relative came out of the store, one of attackers stabbed him in the back.
Then Fares, who was several meters away from the victim, allegedly pulled out a gun and shot at him. The man fled toward his home on the same street, while Fares and Mohammed continued firing at him. Then the suspects shot at the home and the place where the meeting had been held, where many Abu Muammar family members were present. One of the bullets went through a wall and fatally wounded Sharifa Abu Muammar, an 11th grade teacher at Ramle’s Dror High School, who was at home with her children.
Prosecutors say they have a great deal of evidence against the two, including eyewitness accounts of several neighborhood residents. Police say they found the gun used to fire the bullet that killed Sharifa in one of the suspects' hiding place, and say they also saw him pulling out a magazine full of bullets. The investigation also found correspondence by the suspects in which they conspired to murder.
The Alshamali brothers maintained their right to silence during their interrogations, and Fares refused to respond to the refuting of his alibi.
The victim’s relatives expressed outrage over reports stating that the shooting had been accidental.