Two dead, four injured in violent criminal shootings across Israel

Two people were killed and four others were injured in two separate shooting incidents within an hour on Wednesday, as the violence in Israel’s Arab sector shows no signs of abating. Police suspect that both attacks were related to organized crime and are investigating the motives and identities of the perpetrators.

The first incident took place on Route 65 near the northern Kibbutz Gan Shmuel, where a gunman on a motorcycle opened fire at a car with four occupants, hitting all of them. A 16-year-old boy, who was not the intended target of the hit, was pronounced dead at the scene. The three other men, who were known to the police for their criminal past, were seriously wounded and taken to the Hillel Yaffa Hospital in Hadera.

Two dead, four injured in violent criminal shootings across Israel
Two dead, four injured in violent criminal shootings across Israel

The apparent targets of the attack were a father and son, Avi and Yarin Biton, who had been released from prison about a year ago after serving time for murder. They had been warned by the police that they were being hunted by rival gangs. A few weeks ago, one of them survived another assassination attempt.

A second shooting claims another life in Lod

The second shooting occurred in Lod, a mixed Jewish-Arab city that has been plagued by violence and riots in recent months. A 25-year-old man, identified as Muhammad Omari, was shot and killed near his home by unknown assailants. He was rushed to the Assaf Harofeh Medical Center in Tzrifin, where he succumbed to his wounds.

Omari was a member of Hamas and had been imprisoned by Israel for his involvement in terrorist activities. He was released in 2019 as part of a prisoner exchange deal with the Gaza Strip. His family claimed that he had renounced violence and was trying to rebuild his life.

Hamas condemned his murder and blamed Israel for it, saying that it was part of a policy of targeting Palestinians. The Islamic Jihad movement also expressed its outrage and warned that the killing would not go unpunished.

The government vows to crack down on crime and violence

The two shootings added to the growing toll of deaths and injuries caused by crime and violence in Israel’s Arab sector, which accounts for about 20% of the population. According to police statistics, 64 Arab citizens have been killed since the beginning of the year, compared to 96 in the whole of 2022.

The government has declared a state of emergency in some of the most affected areas and has allocated additional resources and personnel to combat the phenomenon. Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has pledged to restore law and order and to protect the lives of all citizens.

However, many Arab leaders and activists have accused the authorities of neglecting and discriminating against their communities, and have demanded more action and cooperation to address the root causes of the problem, such as poverty, unemployment, lack of education and infrastructure, and illegal weapons.

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