Two Charged With Shooting at Home of Cop Heading Israeli Unit Tackling Arab Crime

One of the defendants fired the shots at the home of the head of the unit tackling in the Arab community after he allegedly intervened in a family dispute in northern Israel town of Kafr Kana, the indictment states

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Osama Khatib, accused of shooting at the officer's home, in court today.
Osama Khatib, accused of shooting at the officer's home, in court today.Credit: Gil Eliahu

Two men from northern Israel were charged on Thursday for shooting at the home of police Maj. Gen. Jamal Hakrush, the head of the department for fighting crime in the Arab community.

According to the indictment, 33-year-old lawyer Osama Khatib from Kafr Kana shot at Hakrush’s home in September out of "anger" because he felt he had interfered in family disputes in the town against the interests of his family. Hakrush denies the claim.

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On September 10, Khatib arrived at the police chief's home in Kafr Kana in the car of the second suspect, Mohammed Abu Samara from Haifa. 

The indictment then says that Khatib fired five bullets from an M-16 rifle at the parking spaces, which passed over the top of Hakrush’s car while he and his wife were in their home. After the shooting, Khatib gave Abu Samara $2,000.

Mohammed Abu Samara at court in Nazareth. Khatib transferred $2,000 to him after the shooting.Credit: Gil Eliahu

The two are charged with weapons violations, shooting a firearm and obstruction of justice. 

Even though prosecutors did not state whether Hakrush actually intervened, police officials told Haaretz that Harkush was involved in a dispute that was related to his extended family and that of Khatib.

Hakrush said in response: “I’m not responsible for what the suspect says, and it is no coincidence that the indictment states that he thought that I intervened, while his father who was asked about the matter told the police that it never happened. I have never got involved in his family disputes at all, and I never intervene in any dispute in Kafr Kana because of the sensitivity – even though it is not improper.”

Hakrush confirmed that he is related to Khatib, through his daughter’s marriage, adding the family is "close to me, and they were in my home a number of times for meals, after they made peace between them." 

"They are a good family and not my enemy – and I believe that we will learn the real reason for the shooting,” added Hakrush.

Maj. Gen. Jamal Hakrush at his Kafr Kana home in September. Credit: Gil Eliahu

In August, Hakrush told Haaretz in an interview that his new police unit tackling crime in the Arab community cannot be expected to produce immediate results, but that its establishment shows that the issue is at the top of the agenda for law enforcement.

“For years, the Arab public has been neglected,” he says, citing a 40 percent unemployment rate among the 18-25 age group in Arab society. "Many of them turn to crime and look for quick money,” he said. 

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