Two Arab Men From North Shot Dead in Early Morning

Victims believed to have been on their way to work at a store near Haifa when were shot at nearly point-blank range.

Two men in their thirties were found shot yesterday morning in a car at the entrance to the village of I'billin, police said.

The victims, cousins Salem Muchsan, a father of four, and Fares Muchsan, a father of six, are believed to have been on their way to work at a store near Haifa when were shot at nearly point-blank range.

Murder - - Oct. 29, 2010

Neither has a criminal record or is known to have been involved in any illegal activities that could have provided clues for the motive for the double murder.

Shfaram police station commander Chief Superintendent Shaul Tzemach told Haaretz that police received a call around 6 A.M. about the incident.

The police believe the background for the attack was criminal, but is not discounting other possibilities. No arrests in the case have been made.

A senior source in the Galilee district of police with knowledge of the investigation ruled out the possibility the slaying was the result of a mistaken identity, as the extremely close range at which the two were shot would have allowed the shooter to identify his victims beyond doubt.

'No explanation for horrific murder'

Paramedic Wasef Aasi from the Hayyat medical call center, who was one of the first to reach the scene, told Haaretz one victim was lying on the road in critical condition, and another was sitting in the car, shot in his upper torso.

Medical crews began trying to resuscitate the injured man, but he died shortly afterward.

"We have no explanation for this horrific murder," said Salem Muchsan's cousin, Ali Haydar. "They had no connection to crime. People are sitting in the houses of the victims, shocked."

"We hope police solve this murder quickly," said Haydar, adding the incident should sound an alarm for the Arab community and its leaders.

"Someone should take control of the situation, or we'll be living in a jungle," he said.

This was not the first murder in the village, and police recently concluded an operation of confiscating illegal firearms from residents.

The Higher Arab Monitoring Committee warned yesterday against the consequences of the rising tide of violence within the Arab community, stressing in particular the use of firearms.