28-year-old Nazareth Man Killed by Stray Bullet; Five Suspects Detained

'We lost him in a second without a reason,' Issam Asam Salti's uncle says ■ Murder victims this year in Israel's Arab community on course to surpass last year's record

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A police car at the scene of a murder in Ramle, last year.
A police car at the scene of a murder in Ramle, last year.Credit: Josh Breiner

A 28-year-old man was shot dead on Saturday night in the northern Galilee town of Ilut, making him the 97th murder victim in the country's Arab community this year.

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Issam Asam Salti

Issam Asam Salti, a resident of Nazareth, was at his in-laws' house when a brawl broke out between two families in the area. The families hurled stones and shot live fire at each other. Salti was killed by a stray bullet.

Salti's uncle, Naif, said that the brawl took place about 20 meters (65 feet) from the house the family was staying in when "the shooting suddenly began." The uncle said that Salti was "shot in the stomach" and was seriously injured. "We lost him in a second without a reason."

Five people suspected of involvement in the case were arrested. According to a police statement, the shooting occurred when violence erupted between two feuding families, including the use of firearms and stones. Police said the victim was inside a house in the town center when he was struck by a bullet.

The number of Arab murder victims this year is on track to surpass the total for last year, which saw the highest number since records began.

Earlier this month, 39-year-old Mahran Mughrabi was shot and killed in Haifa. Less than a week earlier, Iyad Dabdoub, 32, was shot dead in the Western Galilee village of Jadeida-Makar.

Protests over law enforcement's failure to curb the violence led to Prime Minister Naftali Bennett’s office announcement last week that the Shin Bet and the Israel Defense Forces would join in police efforts to crack down on illegal weapons in the Arab community. The committee of Arab mayors in Israel criticized the decision, saying it was “a bad decision, which results from viewing the Arab population as a security threat rather than Israeli citizens with equal rights who are in a situation of distress"

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