• An Arab Israeli man was gunned down while riding a motorcycle through Tel Aviv, Israel, Saturday
  • The man was allegedly the head of a criminal gang in Jaffa, a report says
  • An organization said 48 Arab citizens have been killed in Israel due to violent crime since the start of 2021

An Arab Israeli man was killed Saturday in a drive-by shooting in Tel Aviv, Israel, police said.

The man, identified by The Times of Israel as Izzat Hamed, was riding a motorcycle through the city when another motorcyclist began tailing him. The unidentified assailant allegedly opened fire and struck the victim before fleeing the scene.

The victim was found by Magen David Adom medics lying on the ground with multiple gunshot wounds. Responders attempted to resuscitate him, but he was later pronounced dead at the scene.

An investigation has been launched into the incident. Police said the shooting appeared to be a criminal act and not terror-related.

As of this writing, the suspect remains at large, and police have not released the motive for the shooting.

Media reports said Hamed was allegedly the head of a local crime family and was well-known in the underworld in Jaffa, The Times of Israel said in an earlier release.

The number of violent crimes in Arab cities and towns has seen a surge in recent years allegedly due to organized crime, according to the outlet.

Arab Israelis allegedly blame police for failing to crack down on criminal organizations and "ignoring" the "family feuds, mafia turf wars and violence against women," the report said.

Prior to the latest incident, 48 Arab citizens had been killed in the country due to violent crime since the start of 2021, according to The Abraham Initiative, a group campaigning against violence in Arab society. Over half of the victims were said to be below 30 years old.

Another nine fatalities were East Jerusalemites or Palestinians who were in Israel at the time of their deaths. Nine Arab women have also been killed in the community this year, the organization said.

Last year, 96 Arab Israelis were killed, the highest annual toll so far.

According to police, more than 90% of shootings in Israel in 2020 took place in Arab communities despite Arab Israelis accounting for around one-fifth of the country’s population, the report said.

Meanwhile, a similar incident occurred in September 2020 when 33-year-old Rashed Dawikat was shot in Jaffa, The Jerusalem Post reported. He was pronounced dead at the hospital where he was taken after the shooting.

Police suspected that he was shot as part of a premeditated assassination. Dawikat was allegedly involved with other known criminals in the city.

crime scene
Representative image Wikimedia Commons