A man has been arrested for his alleged involvement in the shooting of the home of Ynet Arab affairs correspondent Hassan Shaalan in June, Israel Police announced on Thursday.
The suspect, a resident of the predominantly Arab city of Baqa al-Gharbiyye, was arrested Thursday morning at the tail end of an undercover investigation carried out by the police's Unit of International Crime Investigations. Investigators believe Shaalan was targeted for his work as a journalist.
"We take very seriously any acts of violence and those perpetrated against journalists who are doing their job in particular," a police statement read.
"We will not allow harming the foundations of our democracy and the legitimate right of freedom of the press, we will use all means at our disposal to prevent violence and the use of illegal weapons, and prosecute lawbreakers to the fullest extent of the law."
Shaalan, who had received threats on his life for his journalistic work before, said back in June that shooters showered his Tayibe home with dozens of bullets while his family was inside.
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.
Two weeks later, an explosive device detonated at Shaalan's new home in Baqa al-Gharbiyye. The charge caused extensive damage to the first and second floors of the house. There weren't any injuries reported in the incident as Hassan and his family were supposed to move in several weeks later.
Shaalan claims he was not at odds with anyone and that he does not know the suspect and is still waiting for the ongoing police investigation to unveil the attacker's true motive.
Shaalan 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.