Israel
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Three people shot overnight in two separate incidents in Haifa, Tel Aviv

A 35-year-old man was in critical condition after being shot inside a mini-market in Haifa on Thursday, as the crime wave in the Israeli Arab community continues unabated.

The man was said to be working behind the counter in the store when he was shot by two men who arrived on motorcycles. He was brought to the Rambam Medical Center by first responders in life-threatening condition.

In another shooting incident early Friday morning, two security guards were shot near the Tel Aviv nightclub “Art Club” after they refused entrance to several men subsequently suspected of the shooting.

“It was in a gas station outside the club, not at the club’s entrance,” the club owner told the Kan public broadcaster. “They weren’t allowed in, they went to the gas station, and that’s where the shooting took place. They didn’t look OK. They spoke Arabic and in a tone that showed they didn’t come to have fun but to fight.”

On Friday morning, police said that a 35-year-old man and 21-year-old man from Rishon Lezion were arrested in connection with the incident. The two guards were being treated in Ichilov Hospital in the city and were in moderate condition.

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The shootings follow Wednesday’s killing of two brothers in Abu Snan.

Members of the Arab community march in protest against the police failure to curb violence in their community, in Haifa, August 31, 2023. (Flash90)

A violent crime wave has engulfed the Arab community in recent times. Many community leaders blame 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.

The death toll of such slayings in the Arab community this year stands at 171, according to the Abraham Initiatives anti-violence advocacy group, with the record-breaking pace of murders showing no sign of slowing. There were 75 murders over the same period last year.

Authorities have blamed burgeoning organized crime and the proliferation of weaponry, while some have pointed to a failure by communities to cooperate with law enforcement to root out criminals.

According to a Thursday report, the government is weighing the postponement of local elections in 12 Arab towns in order to prevent criminal interference in municipal politics.

On Tuesday, the Arab community went on strike as municipal leaders called for the establishment of an emergency committee to fight the relentless crime wave.

The National Committee of Heads of Arab Local Authorities and the Arab Higher Monitoring Committee blamed the Israeli government for the spate of killings in the Arab community and accused it of neglecting Arab Israeli citizens.

The strike saw local authorities, community centers and businesses shut their doors, and the school day shortened.