2 dead as Arab family feud spills over into major Israeli highway

Monday’s murders mark a violent end for Israel’s deadliest year for the Arab community in the last two decades.

By Lauren Marcus, World Israel News

Two men are dead and one is critically injured after two shooting incidents on Monday in central Israel, in what local media reported as an ongoing family feud between two Arab families.

Salman Azbarga, a man in his fifties, was found dead from gunshot wounds in his vehicle, parked in an industrial area of the mixed Jewish-Arab city of Lod.

A few hours later, two young men from the Abu Salok family were shot on Highway 6 while driving past Nachshonim Junction, some 20 kilometers north of Lod.

Incredibly, Ynet reports that three police vehicles accompanied the car, one of four vehicles containing members of the Abu Salok family, to the Arab village of Qassem following the first murder that took place in Lod a few hours earlier.

Despite the police escort, the assassins managed to shoot one of the cars in broad daylight. The car crashed, and the two inside were taken to Petach Tikvah’s Beilinson Hospital. One of the men was pronounced dead upon arrival and the survivor is on life support.

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Army Radio reported that the Azbarga and Abu Salok families have been in a dispute for a decade, which started with a 2010 incident in which an Azbarga family member was thrown out of a Lod mosque being renovated by the Abu Salok family.

Shortly thereafter, a member of the Abu Salok family was stabbed to death by a member of the Azbarga family during a melee.

It’s believed that the two Abo Salok youths were shot in an act of revenge by the Azbarga family, after they learned of Salman Azbarga’s killing.

Police are currently searching for the shooters in both incidents.

Monday’s murders mark a violent end for Israel’s deadliest year for the Arab community in the last two decades, with at least 98 Israeli Arabs murdered in 2020.

According to a Haaretz report, Israeli police struggle to find the perpetrators in Arab murder cases, likely due to a lack of cooperation from the community.

In 2019, the police solved 21 out of 36 murders involving Jewish victims, for a success rate of 58 percent.

But the police solved only 31 percent of murders where the victim was Arab, with just 22 out of 71 cases resulting in a perpetrator being charged.

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