TULKARM, Friday, April 16, 2021 (WAFA) – Two brothers from the Arab city of Baqa al-Gharbiya in 1948-occupied historical Palestine were shot dead by unknown assailants last night in city of Tulkarm, north of the occupied West Bank.
Shafea Abu Hussein and his brother, Salah, both in their twenties, were shot in their vehicle in a drive-by shooting carried out by unknown assailants. Witnesses said the car carrying the gunmen bore Israeli license plates.
The victims were taken to a nearby hospital in critical condition, where they were announced dead of their wounds.
With the latest killings, the number of Palestinian nationals of Israel who were killed by organized crime gangs since the beginning of this year rose to 33.
In October, the victims’ mother was shot dead in their hometown of Baqa al-Gharbiya. In December another three relatives of the victims were shot dead, also in their hometown, according to media reports.
Arab cities and towns have seen a surge in violence in recent years, with organized crime seen as the main driver. Arab Israelis blame the police, whom they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations.
Since last February, Palestinians across the Arab land occupied since 1948 have held weekly demonstrations outside Israeli police stations in Arab-majority cities in condemnation of police failure to investigate crime incidents and even their suspected collaboration with criminal gangs.
Arabs in today's Israel are Palestinians who stayed on their land following the creation of the occupying state in 1948 and their descendants. They make up about 20 percent of the country's nine million people.
By law, their rights are equal to those of Israeli Jewish citizens. But in practice they suffer discrimination in employment, housing, policing and other essentials.
Palestinians have long blamed the Israeli police for turning a blind eye to gun violence among Arab Israelis and even complicity with criminal gangs.