An imam was shot dead on Tuesday morning at the entrance of a mosque in the northern city of Umm al-Fahm, in circumstances that were not immediately clear.
Magen David Adom (MDA) paramedics were called to the scene and provided emergency treatment to 50-year-old Sheikh Mohammed Sa’ada but were forced to pronounce him dead. Police forces were also called to the scene and launched in investigation.
At 5:11 am, the emergency 101 hotline received reports of a wounded man in the Arab-Israeli city who had been shot in his upper body.
A close family relative of the sheikh was murdered a year ago and the former’s bother was also shot two weeks ago and seriously wounded as violent gun crime runs rampant in the area.
“We are in shock. We don’t know who is responsible for the murder and what the reason for it is. What have we come to?” a family member asked in despair.
“The shooters don’t care at all about anyone and shoot at mosques. In these days, we are all in life-threatening danger.”
Umm al-Fahm has been plagued with shooting attacks in recent months. Two weeks ago, a man was shot in front of his family and was rushed to hospital in serious condition. At the end last week, another man was moderately wounded after being shot while a month earlier, another man was seriously wounded in a shooting attack.
In another incident in Nazareth, assailants opened fire on a restaurant, leaving a 50-year-old man who was dining there in serious condition.
“He lives abroad. He came back to visit his family and was wounded in an incident with which he has no connection. Anyone sitting in his place would have fallen victim,” said his family after the shooting.
Director of the Mossawa Center, the Advocacy Center for Palestinian Arab citizens in Israel, Jafar Farah, blamed the Israeli security forces for failing to rid the area of weapons.
“In my opinion, the police and the Shin Bet have failed. They are not making efforts to confiscate weapons and expunge the phenomenon of violence and crime,” Farah complained.
“If this shooting had hit a Jew, we would see other results, arrests and an investigation. I don’t understand why they are waiting.”