A father and son were shot dead in Shfaram on Wednesday, bringing to three the number of fatal shootings in the northern town in less than 24 hours, and to five the total number of gun homicides in the Arab community over the past day.
Magen David Adom emergency service medics called to the scene said they declared the death of a 26-year-old man.
Israel Police said another man, 61, was seriously injured in the shooting. He was later declared dead at the hospital after he succumbed to his injuries.
The Abraham Initiatives, which tracks violent crime in the Arab community, identified the father as Omer Khaladi. His son was named in Hebrew-language reports as Mohammed Khaladi.
Police said the shooting was related to feuding crime groups. It was unclear if it was linked to the killing of a man in the town late Tuesday.
Prior to the latest two killings, Shfaram Mayor Ursan Yassin, speaking to the Ynet news site, called on authorities to deal with the problem of deadly violence in the Arab community and said that so far he has seen “nothing” from National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir.
“If I see that he really does something and he puts an end to crime, I will invite him [here] myself,” he said.
מוחמד חלאדי ואביו עומר, בני 26 ו-61, הם הנרצחים בשפרעם pic.twitter.com/9sCFjU8HDC
— ynet עדכוני (@ynetalerts) June 28, 2023
Ben Gvir, a far-right lawmaker who campaigned on promises to beef up public safety, has largely stayed quiet on the crimewave that has soared since the beginning of the year, with over twice as many deaths than there were during the same period in 2022.
Yassin also attacked Arab lawmakers, saying they “are not doing the things that need to be done.”
During the interview, the sound of gunfire was heard, apparently traditional celebrations to mark the Muslim festival of Eid al-Adha.
Yassin played down the significance of the celebratory shots fired in the air, despite the fact that it is illegal in Israel.
“People are having fun, celebrating, and shooting,” he said, claiming that the shooters were likely community members who serve in the Israel Defense Forces and were using weapons they are permitted to hold.
שידרתי הבוקר לאולפן @ynetalerts משפרעם. כשהסתיים השידור שוחחתי עם ראש העירייה עורסאן יאסין ולפתע נשמעו צרורות של יריות. הוא חייך בביטול והסביר “זה חג, הלוואי שהימים שלנו יהיו כולם חגיגיים. אתה יודע אנשים נהנים,חוגגים ויורים. זה ככה צריך להיות.
צפו בדבריו:https://t.co/ggascqJMMG pic.twitter.com/GZ5niGWGsf
— יאיר קראוס (@yair_kraus) June 28, 2023
The proliferation of illegal weapons in Arab towns and cities has facilitated many of the slayings.
Also Wednesday, gunmen opened fire at two teenage sons of Tuba-Zangariyye local council head Wissam Omar.
He told Channel 12 news that the two boys, aged 17 and 19, were uninjured in the attack but their vehicle was damaged.
Since the beginning of the year, 111 Arabs have been killed violently in Israel, according to the Abraham Initiatives. Of those, 98 were killed by gunfire and 51 were under the age of 30. At the same point in 2022, 46 people in the community had been killed.
On Tuesday, a teen and two men in their 30s were killed within hours of each other in a string of deadly shootings and other violent incidents that also left nearly 20 people injured in towns across the country.
Besides the killing Shfaram, there were also deadly shootings in Kafr Kanna and Rahat.
No arrests were announced.
On Sunday, two men were shot dead in the northern Arab town of Nahf.
Authorities have not stopped the bloodletting, despite promising more resources, including more police and funds to deal with societal issues underpinning the crime wave.
Many community leaders blame the police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore the violence, which includes family feuds, mafia turf wars, and violence against women.