4-year-old shot dead in criminal incident in Arab town

Defense Minister Benny Gantz reassured the grieving family that the Israeli government is committed to eradicating the crime and violence that have plagued the Arab sector.

By Aryeh Savir/TPS and World Israel News Staff

Amar Hajirat, a 4-year-old boy from the Arab town of Bir al-Maksur in northern Israel, was shot and killed Thursday while playing in the playground, apparently a victim of crime-related violence.

He was severely wounded by bullets in his head and neck and died shortly afterward receiving initial treatment at Rambam Hospital in Haifa.

The police believe he was erroneously hit by stray bullets from a construction site located about 300 meters away from the playground he was playing at with his mother. No suspects have been arrested yet.

The boy appears to be the first victim of crime-related violence in the Arab sector in 2022. At least 129 Arab-Israelis were killed in criminal violence in 2021. Over 110 Arabs were killed in criminal violence in 2020.

On Saturday, Defense Minister Benny Gantz visited Hajirat’s family in the Galilee and expressed his condolences. He was joined by Blue and White MK Mofid Mari and Bir al-Maksur Regional Council head Khaled Hajirat.

Gantz reassured the grieving family that the Israeli government is committed to eradicating the crime and violence that have plagued the Arab sector and led to their son’s untimely death.

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“We as a society should fight the crime amplified by illegal weapons in the Arab sector. We will do all we can to bring the perpetrator to justice and prevent the next murder,” Gantz said.

The Arab sector has been suffering from a wave of crime and violence in recent years. The police increased its activity against the plague of shootings and weapons offenses in recent years, and in 2020 arrested 5,713 suspects in shootings and other weapons crimes throughout the country, an increase of 22% compared to 2019.

The vast majority of police activity was carried out in the Arab sector, and about 90% of the suspects arrested for shooting and weapons offenses were Arab Israelis.

Approximately 85% of the indictments filed in Israel in 2020 for shooting, illegal possession of weapons, trafficking, and illegal use of weapons have been filed against suspects from the Arab society.