Two masked gunmen fired dozens of rounds overnight Thursday at the home and car of Ynet's Arab affairs correspondent Hassan Shaalan.
Three bullets struck near the beds of his 4-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter who were in their bedroom at the time, with one of the bullets reportedly missing the girl's head by a few inches.
The children were not harmed in the attack, but the gunfire had caused extensive property damage.
The shooters were standing outside the house for about an hour before the shooting and questioned neighbors to locate Shaalan's residence. They opened fire around 1:50am and one of the attackers hurled an expletive upon fleeing the scene.
Shaalan claimed he was not at odds with anyone and he has been most probably targeted for his journalistic work. He has covered the crime wave in Arab towns caused by out-of-control criminal gangs which had taken the lives of dozens of Arab citizens in recent years. He also covered the recent wave of civil unrest in mixed and Arab towns that erupted concurrently with Israel's latest military campaign in the Gaza Strip.
Shaalan, who resides in the central Arab city of Tayibe, told the Ynet studio that he was working on his next report when suddenly bullets came flying in. At first, he thought it was a stray shooting, living in an area where gun violence is commonplace, but realized he was personally targeted when the attackers started shouting his name along with expletives.
Shaalan said he had received multiple threats on his life in the past, but this was the first time they materialized.
"There are people who threaten me, and I know them but ultimately, I always manage to deescalate the situation," Shaalan said. "This time, I wasn't warned that someone wanted to hurt me. I don't know who shot me and what for. I didn't cause harm to anyone, I'm not at odds with anyone. I'm not a criminal and I've got no ties to any criminal organization or money laundering. I'm an honest man. I'm always on the ground everywhere. They could have killed me while driving and not just at home."
"These criminals wanted to send a message — you better keep your mouth shut. They don't want us to report on what's going on in Arab society. I'm not afraid of anyone. I keep working as usual. I know I always work honestly and present things properly in a professional manner. This is the first time someone has shot up my house, and it's a very bad feeling because I did not hurt anybody. My children almost got murdered and I do not know what they will do to me now if I go out on the road. In Arab society, there is violence and murders all the time, and there is no solution to this phenomenon. I always say — 'Yesterday someone was murdered, tomorrow they will kill me, my wife, my son and my daughter'. The criminals roam free and there is no one to take care of them."
"I did not expect to get to this point," he added. "I want to take care of my family now. My wife is crying, and I need to calm my children down and go somewhere else. We will not stay home today."
Israeli Journalist Union Chairman Yair Tarchitsky condemned the attack on Shaalan and his family and implored Israel Police to exhaust all means to bring the shooters to justice.