Footage Shows Convoys of Masked Men Shooting Out of Jeeps in Israeli South

Police are still looking for suspects but believe a wedding in a Bedouin town could explain the incidents

Almog Ben Zikri
Almog Ben Zikri
Almog Ben Zikri
Almog Ben Zikri

A number of video clips published on social media seem to show convoys of masked men driving through the Negev desert in southern Israel while shooting in the air. Police have opened an investigation, but are yet to apprehend any suspects.

One clip, shot at about 5 P.M. last Friday, shows several vehicles approaching Route 40’s Ohelim Junction. One, a Mitsubishi SUV, drives onto a traffic island, at which point a masked passenger shoots in the air. The car’s license plate isn’t visible in the footage. Another clip shows multiple people getting out of a Toyota SUV and shooting in the air. Some of them aren’t masked.

Police are investigating whether there is a connection between the two clips, saying both incidents seem to have occurred following a wedding in the Bedouin town of Tel Sheva. Locals called the police about a shooting in the town, and shortly afterward about the shooting on Route 40, near Ohelim Junction. But the policemen who came to the scene didn’t manage to nab any suspects.

Though Tel Sheva has a police station staffed by 24 cops, which opened in November 2016, one resident said that the law enforcement situation hasn’t improved. “There’s no police presence on the streets,” he complained. “I, who live here, don’t feel the police in my daily life. If the police were physically present, this could help, but I never see Tel Sheva’s policemen walking in the streets.” “In the Bedouin community, shooting is as common as chocolate, especially during weddings," said the man, who asked to remain anonymous. Nevertheless, he added, he was surprised by the videos.

Last October, when 23-year-old Farhi Abu Taha was shot to death as part of a longstanding family feud, the Magen David Adom ambulance service was called at 6:35 P.M., yet the police found out only 40 minutes later. Moreover, despite knowing about the feud, they made no effort to forestall the shooting.

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