Two men were found dead with multiple gunshot wounds at the entrance to the Bedouin town of Tel Sheva in southern Israel, raising the number of casualties in Israel's Arab community to 81 since the beginning of 2019.
Cousins Jalal Shahada Abu Taha and Muhammad Abu Taha, aged 25, were found inside a vehicle and were pronounced dead at the scene. The police suspect the men were murdered, and have dispatched a helicopter to search for the assailants.
Following the incident, the town of Tel Sheva declared a general strike for Tuesday morning in protest of what they call police incompetence in its attempts to quell violence in the Arab community.
Hundreds of local residents confronted with police and rescue forces in Tel Sheva, shattering the window of a Magen David Adom ambulance. The police said that the crowd that had gathered at the scene prevented them from properly collecting evidence, prompting them to call additional backup.
Since 2000, some 1,400 people were murdered in the Arab community in an escalating trend of gun violence.
On Sunday, Israeli Arab politicians and public figures launched a three-day hunger strike to protest the government’s failure to effectively combat crime in the Arab community.
Some 30 people are participating in the strike, including Knesset members, local council heads and political activists.
In 2018, Tel Sheva resident Manal al-Fazrat was shot dead at the entrance to her house, and several hours later her brother was arrested on suspicion of committing the crime.
Two of Fazrat's brothers are currently serving their sentence for murdering their other sister 13 years ago.
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