Three Arab-Palestinian citizens of Israel were shot to death within 24 hours in different parts of the country over last weekend, as the death toll of crime-related violence in the Arab community continues to skyrocket.
Overnight Friday, August 27-28, Ibrahim Nasr Abu-Omra, in his thirties, from the Arab-Bedouin town of Tel Sheva in the Negev was fatally shot close to his home. Abu-Omra was brought in critical condition by residents of Tel Sheva to Beersheba’s Soroka Medical Center, where he was pronounced dead.
Only hours later, on Saturday, 18-year-old Anas Al-Wahwah was shot dead in the city of Lod while sitting inside a car. According to Al-Ittihad, Al-Wahwah was a gifted student and social activist who regularly undertook volunteer work in his school and community. A police source said Anas may have been targeted simply for his family ties, rather than for being involved in any criminal activities himself. “The scene was chaotic,” Magen David Adom paramedics who evacuated the youth said. “The teen was suffering from a gunshot wound, bleeding profusely and unconscious. We administered initial medical treatment on the scene in order to stop the bleeding and dress the wound. We put him into an intensive care ambulance and evacuated him to the hospital in critical condition.”
Later on Saturday night, Abed al-Aziz Qurmata, 26, from the town of Jaljulia in the center of the country was gunned down in the market of the neighboring city of Kafr Qasim. Qurmata was pronounced dead after being taken to the hospital with serious injuries.
Since the beginning of this year, 76 Arab citizens of Israel have been murdered in a chronic and ongoing wave of internal in their communities. The year 2020 saw 96 Arab citizens violently killed, by far the highest annual toll in recent memory, but 2021’s rate appears set to surpass that number. Arab cities and towns have witnessed a surge in violence in recent years, with organized crime, flourishing in the impoverished communities, perceived as the main driver.
Following the three killings over the weekend, the Committee of Local Arab Authorities in Israel said, “Once again we witness that Israel is partly a state of law and partly a Wild West… The Negev and mixed Jewish and Arab cities have become battlegrounds that require a solution and focused treatment. We demand that the Chief of Police provide an immediate explanation on how the police intends to combat the wave of violence; our blood will no longer be shed freely,” the committee said in a statement.
Related: Israel Police: Most Violence in Arab Community Tied to Shabak Stoolies