Nahmidu Abu Ali outside her daughter's hospital room in Be'er Sheva

Residents of southern Bedouin city feel ignored by police amid local clan war

Rimas, 14, calls for police intervention after being wounded by stray bullet in her home after hours of shooting; 'If there was a terror attack, there would have been choppers in the air and gunmen would have been caught,' relatives say

Hassan Shaalan |
Published: 04.25.22, 11:30
The 71,000 residents of Rahat in the Negev Desert are being subjected to daily gunfights as two warring families take their clan fights to the Bedouin city streets and businesses more and more frequently.
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  • On Sunday, 14-year old Rimas Abu-Ali became the latest casualty of the violence when she was wounded by a stray bullet.
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    נחמידו אבו עלי
    נחמידו אבו עלי
    Nahmidu Abu Ali outside her daughter's hospital room in Be'er Sheva
    (Photo: Roee Idan)
    She was taken to the Soroka hospital suffering from wounds to her abdomen. "She screamed for me, " her mother says. "At first I told her to calm down but then I saw her that she had been shot."
    The police arrested three men suspected of involvement in the exchanges of fire.
    Masked gunmen from one family opened at a coffee shop owned by the rival clan, earlier this month, causing damage and instilling fear. The incident was repeated in another place of business on Sunday.
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    תיעוד הירי בתוך בית הקפה ברהט
    תיעוד הירי בתוך בית הקפה ברהט
    Gunman opens fire in Rahat coffee shop earlier this month
    "We were at home and had been hearing gunfire for hours, " Rimas describes the events of the morning. "We were preparing for the meal before the hours of fast, during Ramadan and had just entered the room."
    Nahmidu, her mother says the police has left them to fend for themselves.
    "It is time to tell how neglected we are by the local police," she says. "We don't have personal security or the right to ask for it," she says.
    "We had been calling the police repeatedly since 11:30 PM and telling them what has been going on but we live in old houses in the neighborhood, some of them makeshift structures," she says.
    "The shooting had gone on all evening and all night. The police could have sent up a chopper and lit the streets so as to chase the gunmen away," she says. "That police station should be shut down and the officers should just leave," she says.
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    ירי על שנאי חשמל ברהט
    ירי על שנאי חשמל ברהט
    A gunman seen in broad daylight shooting at the electrical grid in Rahat on Saturday
    Nahala, Rimas's sister says the police did not appear, even after her sister was shot.
    "An investigator showed up at the hospital and quickly concluded his investigation. He said the Rahat station had asked for a chopper from Beer Sheva but was not given one. If there would have been a terrorist, they would have killed him but when we Arabs, are under fire for hours, having to escape our own homes, nothing," she says.
    "Had we been Jews, they would have done everything to stop the shooting. They would have positioned themselves between the gunmen. This was constant shooting. The cops should be ashamed of themselves. They should just get out," Nahala Says.
    When we called the police hotline the officers could hear the children crying and the shots being fired. But no one cares," she says. "A 14-year old girl is shot in her own home and has to spend five hours in surgery? Even MDA ambulances did not reach our house and we had to meet them halfway," she says.
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    היורים מרהט
    היורים מרהט
    Gunmen from Rahat pose for the camera, before their arrest by police
    Other relatives agreed. "If this was the West Bank, the Shin Bet security agency would have located the shooters, those who had planned it, those who drove them to the area. Why do we have to beg for police protection," one relative asks.
    The police said they were responding to gunfire all over Rahat during the previous evening and through the night. "We call on the residents and municipal leaders to act responsibly," a local officer says.





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