A 19-year-old Arab Israeli youth from Baka al-Garbiyeh sustained gunshot wounds to the head on Nitza Boulevard in Netanya pre-dawn Saturday. Police said it was still unclear whether the shooting was criminally motivated or if the attacker was a Jewish extremist targeting Arabs owing to nationalistic motives.
The youth was out with his friends, aged 18 to 20, Friday night when several shots were fired at the group from the direction of one of the surrounding buildings' lobbies. The youngster sustained head injuries as a result of the shooting. His friends evacuated him to the Hillel Yaffe Hospital in Hadera, and following a series of tests he was transferred to the Sheba Medical Center where he is still hospitalized in serious condition.
Netanya police forces were dispatched to the crime scene and launched an investigation into the incident. They also collected eyewitness testimonies according to which the shooter fired at the group from a nearby building's lobby and then fled the place driving a car. The eyewitnesses said that the shooter was masked and therefore could not be identified.
Police have also interrogated the wounded youth's friends, who said they had no clue why they were attacked. Policemen also discovered that the youngsters were not involved in any quarrel prior to the attack.
Town people angry, shocked
The investigation of the incident continues, and a spokesman for the Sharon District police said that officers were pursuing several leads, including the possibility the attack was nationalistically-motivated.
In Baka al-Garbiyeh, word of the attack was received with shock, enhanced against the backdrop of a recent previous incident in which town member Mahmoud Ganaim was shot to death by a policeman who suspected he was trying to steal a car.
"We are shocked and angry over the two incidents in which two of the town's youngsters were hurt, both without any justification," one of the town members said.
"The two people who were wounded are not criminals, and were only out trying to have some good time. One came back in a coffin and the other is in serious condition and will most likely not survive the shooting. We know that the group went for a night out in Netanya and that they were playing loud Arab music on the street. Maybe that's why they got shot? It's scary," he added.