Kalansua City Lawyer Arrested Over Slaying of Mayor's Brother

The remand of two suspects arrested Tuesday for the September murder of two men, one of whom was a brother of Kalansua's mayor, was extended yesterday until Monday.

The victims of the coffee house shooting were Saadi Hadija, brother of Kalansua Mayor Mahmoud Hadija, and Wasim Natur.

Officers from the Central District Police arrested Kalansua municipal counsel Kaid Salama, 39, who was arrested at city offices, and Khalifa Salama, 25.

Last week police arrested Taalat Gaowi, also of Kalansua, in connection with the double murder, and it was information he provided during interrogation that led to Tuesday's arrests.

Sources in the municipality tell of a long-running dispute that Kaid Salama had with the mayor and other senior town officials. They say he was upset over not being picked to oversee two city tenders, in his capacity as municipal counsel.

One tender, worth hundreds of thousands of shekels, was for school transportation, the other was for the construction of a building intended to serve as either a community center or local council offices.

According to the sources, when Kaid Salama learned that he would not be managing the tenders, he threatened on one occasion to cut off the city treasurer's hands. On another occasion, he told the city manager that "Today it costs NIS 1,000 to take a person down."

Investigation of the three suspects is in its starting stages. Police plan to request that the remand be extended in order to continue their work.

Kaid Salama has served as legal advisor to the municipality for seven years.

According to sources there, he worked in harmony with the mayor until recently. The mayor outsourced the large tenders after he became suspicious about Kaid Salama, and their relationship turned rocky, sources said.

Galit Dabash, Salama Khalifa's attorney, told Haaretz, "My client denies the accusations against him. He says that he was not involved in an argument with the murder victims. We are talking about a normal person who is employed and has children."

News of Kaid Salama's arrest was met with shock and surprise in Kalansua. Mayor Mahmoud Hadija confirmed he and the counselor had recently chafed against each other but said that it this point he cannot give an explanation for the suspicion that Kaid Salama was involved in his brother's murder.

"It caused a great deal of surprise, I prefer to wait for the results of the investigation and to hope that the police will determine the truth," Hadija said.