One teenager was seriously wounded and another was murdered in a shooting on Tuesday night in the Israeli Arab town of Jaljulya, raising the toll of murder victims in the Arab community to 23 since January.
Mohammed Abed Alrazik Adas, 14, was pronounced dead shortly after arriving at Meir Hospital in Kfar Sava, while Mustafa Hamid, 12, has undergone surgery as doctors battle to save his life.
Trauma Center director Dr. Uri Yaslovic at Meir Hospital said that Hamid "has undergone surgery overnight. He suffers multiple gunshot wounds and is still in an induced coma."
According to the initial police investigation, the pair were shot at close range while they were sitting at home. Police said the shooting may have been part of a feud between two families, although the two boys were not directly connected to it.
The police believe that only one of the boys was a target and the other one was wounded due to his close proximity when the shooting occurred. The scene of the shooting is near a small police station, and is in range of closed-circuit TV cameras. At the police station, the single officer on duty ran to the scene when he heard gunfire, but did not locate the suspect.
Dozens of family members stood outside the house where the two were shot, and several of them criticized the police. “How many people have been murdered here so far?” one of the asked a police officer. “What did you do here? Look how many patrol cars are here. Where are you every day? Sitting at home drinking coffee. The Jaljulya municipality declared a general strike on Wednesday in the town as a sign of mourning.
Afif Balalu, a Jaljulya resident, said that the boys had no bad blood with anyone. “The police are not to blame. We are to blame. The police bring the shooter to court and after a few months he gets out. People are caught right after a shooting and are released,” Balalu said. “We must not be silent about this and the police have to bring in forces and search. When they want to find someone, they find him even under the ground. The police know who has weapons,” he added.
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Over the past year, 95 Arab Israelis have been murdered, the highest annual figure in the past 20 years. According to figures obtained by Haaretz, by October the police had solved approximately 20 per cent of the murder cases in the Arab community in 2020, as opposed to 53 per cent in the Jewish community. In 2019, the figure of solved murders in the Jewish community was almost double that of the Arab community – 58 percent as opposed to 30 percent.
Over the past few weeks, demonstrations have been held in Umm al-Fahm in protest against violence in the Arab community. Last Friday a few thousand people blocked the nearby main highway, the Wadi Ara road in protest against the police treatment of violence in the Arab community and police violence toward Arabs.