One Week's Fatal Harvest: Seven Murders, One Suicide

Eight people were murdered in Israel in the past week, with the latest killing coming early yesterday morning when an Acre man with a criminal history was shot while sitting in his car near his home.

The victim, Benny Bracha, 49, was married with three children. He was shot four times at 2 A.M. on Wednesday by one of two people riding a motorcycle that pulled up next to his car at an intersection. After the shooting the car rolled forward until it hit a sidewalk and stopped; the motorcyclists fled.

The publication of details of the investigation, including the distribution of pictures or videos, has been banned. There are security cameras at most intersections in Acre, including the site of the murder.

Police sources said yesterday that Bracha was a known criminal who had perpetrated fraud and physical violence, and had many enemies. They said his murder was most likely a settling of accounts between criminals. Police, however, do not at this point see a connection between Bracha's killing and other murders in Acre in the past year that were also linked to feuds between criminals.

On Wednesday night in Ashkelon the bodies of a woman and her one-month-old son were found in the family's apartment, with stab wounds, shortly after her husband's body was found hanging outside in an apparent suicide. The couple were asylum-seekers from Eritrea who had been in Israel for about a year, and the man worked in construction, police said.

"It was horrible, finding the baby stabbed like that," a police officer said. Police believe the man killed his wife and son before hanging himself.

"The man's brother said there was no history of conflict between the man and his wife, so he had no idea why this might have happened," Ashkelon commander Superintendent Avi Tuval said.

There is a press ban on the investigation of a Tuesday murder in Dimona, in which a 43-year-old man was shot five times in a restaurant.

Khader Abu-Graibeh, a 45-year-old mother of eight and grandmother of four, was shot dead on Monday not far from the Lod Police station. Police officers had noticed a suspicious vehicle several minutes before the shooting but before they could check the occupants an armed man got out and sprayed the area with gunfire, killing Abu-Graibeh and wounding three members of her family before fleeing.

A suspect was arrested shortly afterward. Police believe the shooting was linked to a dispute between clans.

Last Saturday night a recent parolee was shot and killed in Givat Shmuel. Police are investigating whether the shooting of Moshe Elbaz, 28, who had served time after being convicted of manslaughter, was intended to avenge the killing he had committed.

Late last week two brothers, residents of Kafr Salem, were found shot dead in their car in Jaljulya. Police believe the shootings were connected to an ongoing blood feud between the Hariri and Abdul Kader families in Taibeh.