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1 killed, 3 injured in shootings as Arab community violent crime wave continues

18-year-old shot to death in Kafr Qara, and man in 40s critically injured in Shfar’am, bringing death toll since start of year to nearly 140

A man was shot to death in the northern town of Kafr Qara on Monday as an unrelenting violent crime wave in Israeli Arab communities continued unabated.

The fatality was an 18-year-old resident of the town, and two other men were injured during the incident, Hebrew media reports said.

In a separate incident, earlier Monday, a 43-year-old man was shot in a convenience store in the northern town of Shfar’am and taken to a hospital in critical condition.

Police said the shooting appeared to be linked to an ongoing criminal dispute.

Scuffles broke out at the Haifa hospital where the injured man was taken, the Ynet news site reported. Rambam Medical Center said police and security guards were called in to deal with the man’s distraught relatives.

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A wave of violent crime has engulfed Israel in recent years, with shootings becoming almost regular occurrences in some neighborhoods.

The anti-violence Abraham Initiatives watchdog group said that since the beginning of the year, at least 136 members of the Arab community have been killed in violent and criminal circumstances. During the same period last year there were 66 deaths, it noted.

Many community leaders blame the crime wave on the police, who they say have failed to crack down on powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore the violence. They also point to decades of neglect and discrimination by government offices as the root cause of the problem.

Far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir, who campaigned on promises to beef up public safety and whose ministry oversees the police, has largely stayed quiet on the soaring crimewave, despite his ministry overseeing the police.