Israel Police forces have arrested 145 men in a mass raid in the predominantly Arab regional council of Tur’an in the Galilee on suspicion of violent behavior, arson and illegal use of firearms.
The raid was carried out overnight Saturday and involved 250 officers from both the Border Police and the Police Special Patrol Unit, which specializes in riot and crowd control.
The raid was part of efforts to crack down on widespread violence in Tur'an. Much of the violence is believed to be due to a conflict between two warring local families, the Dahlas and Aduis, which erupted after Mazen Adui was elected as the local council leader in October 2018.
The conflict has already claimed the lives of two residents, Falah Dahla, who was killed while trying to end a large-scale brawl in November 2019, and Mahmoud Mayid Adui, the nephew of the council leader, who was shot near his home in May 2020.
The police said following the raid that it “takes all violent incidents very seriously and in particular those involving public officials."
It vowed to "use all means to find these violent criminals and bring them to justice."
The police also urged local residents and leaders "to stop fanning the flames, take responsibility and act immediately to ease tensions in order to restore calm to the area."
Another 11 people from Tur'an were arrested over the weekend. Some wer detained while carrying weapons that included a submachine gun, a handgun, Molotov cocktails and a grenade.
Tur’an residents say the local council leader has chosen not to intervene in the violence and that a 24-hour police presence has failed to curb the violence.
“I am afraid to leave the house to buy bread for the children because of the danger. Anyone entering the community thinks we are in the middle of war,” said one Tur’an resident.
“Everything is in ruins and there is no one to help us. We are tired, we want to return to the life we lost. We feel like we are in prison."
In the past week alone, dozens of violent incidents have taken place in Tur'an, including a shooting that left a local resident moderately wounded, arson attacks on buildings and vehicles and a grenade being hurled in the streets.
Israel's Arab population has long been battling growing violence in their communities, which have seen 10 murders since the start of 2021.
The most recent incident came Tuesday, with the killing of 21-year-old Mohammad Agbaria in the city of Umm al-Fahm.
Slamming the country's failure to tackle the violence in their community, Umm al-Fahm Mayor Samir Sobhi Mahameed and Ar’ara Mayor Modar Younis threatened to resign their positions unless a solution was found.