The escalating cruelty of gang violence in Israel's Arab sector

Bloody battle between Arab crime rings claims more victims and many fear they will be the next target; 'We've lost our sense of personal security; our sole concern is what might happen to us if we leave our home'
Hassan Shaalan|
Recent cases of kidnapping and murder in Israel have taken a chilling turn with announcements of these killings circulating even before the victims' bodies were discovered.
Human remains recently found in the northern Galilee region have been identified as those of Amid Abu Rukan and Tamer Kayouf, two residents of Osafia believed to have been victims of a double homicide linked to an ongoing dispute between criminals.
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חלק מרשימת החיסול - עמיד אבו רוקון ותאמר כיוף
חלק מרשימת החיסול - עמיד אבו רוקון ותאמר כיוף
Amid Abu Rukan and Tamer Kayouf featured on hit list circulating on social media
Their bodies were discovered last month in a field in Rama, where they had been abducted on the same day another related double murder occurred.
The most brutal ongoing conflict involves two criminal rings, Abu Latif and Na'imi, which are responsible for 17 murders and numerous gunshot injuries over the past two years. These groups are now creating hit lists for targeted killings.
"It's a harsh and cruel time filled with acts of revenge,” a member of one of the gangs described the situation. “Everyone is plotting the assassination of their targets. I am one of those marked for death at any cost. I rarely leave my hideout. Only one person knows my location to prevent my family from being coerced if threats are made against someone close to me."
Can the dispute be resolved without further bloodshed? "I don't think so. We've lost friends and family members, and the response needs to be immediate, not conciliatory. The atmosphere is tense and volatile, and there's no control. Even the police can't curb crime as they claim because today the organizations are stronger than the police or any other security agency. Even if they arrest people, crime will continue and be orchestrated from within prison.”
Assassination by criminal gang in northern Israel

The conflict has also claimed residents of the northern Arab town of Jadeidi-Makr. A local, mourning a murdered family member, expressed deep fears.
"We've lost our sense of personal security; our lives are overshadowed by fear. Our sole concern is what might happen to us if we leave our home,” he says.
“Living close to the factions involved, we are painfully aware they target even the innocent. For nearly six months, we've been confined indoors, relying on loans from friends to get by. It wouldn't be surprising if we end up on a hit list."
Even in mourning tents, safety cannot be guaranteed. Earlier this week, an unidentified assailant burst into a mourning tent in the central city of Lod and killed Mahmoud Al-Assioui while he was consoling the deceased’s family. The murder is suspected to be a retaliatory act for another killing.
"Crime has crossed all red lines. It's dangerous even inside a mourning tent. This incident could have resulted in more victims,” a local resident commented.
“Honestly, setting up mourning tents might be too risky because we don't want this to happen again. To this day, I am still shocked by the brutal murder. The assailant entered wearing a helmet and armed. We didn't expect him to shoot, but tragically, that's what happened, and the outcome was devastating and heartbreaking."
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זירת הרצח בלוד
זירת הרצח בלוד
The murder scene in Lod
"We have no safe places. Wherever we are, it’s always dangerous, and at any moment, we could be among the injured or the dead,“ another local said.
“The police have failed in their duty, and National Security Minister Itamar Ben-Gvir seems indifferent to the murder epidemic. They only appear in PR statements after a murder or two has occurred. The police need to find a strong and courageous way to end the crime wave, but we are living in an era dominated by rampant crime with no accountability."
"All these murders are extremely alarming,” a resident of Osafia tells Ynet, expressing deep concern over the recent wave of killings in their community.
“Four residents have been murdered within three weeks. These acts cannot go unaddressed. Kidnapping people, murdering them and dumping their bodies in a field in Rama is heart-wrenching and highlights the severe cruelty and danger threatening our lives. Given the current situation, this is unlikely to end here. We've seen the writing on the wall."
Since the start of the year, the Arab community has counted 66 murder cases. In April alone, 21 men were killed, compared to 61 by April 30 of the previous year, indicating a rise in both the number of murders and the brutality of criminal rings.
Meanwhile, the police arrested on Wednesday two suspects in connection with the murder of Mansour Na'imi, 51, who was shot in Jadeidi-Makr in early March after leaving a bakery in the town. Na'imi was not involved in any criminal activity.
Their arrests were made following the collection of security camera footage and DNA identification. A charging document was filed against the two suspects, with an indictment expected in the coming days.
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