Acre mayor Shimon Lankry 370.
(photo credit: Courtesy Jewish Agency)
Police on Friday gave top investigative priority to an attempt on the life of Acre Mayor Shimon Lankry, who was shot in the chest and moderately wounded in a drive-by shooting around 3am Friday morning.
Public Security Minister Yitzhak Aharonovich (Yisrael Beitenu) visited Lankry at the hospital on Friday morning, and spoke of the severity with which police are viewing the attempt on his life.
“An attempt to hurt a mayor in the state of Israel is a severe act and we must deal with it as such.”
Aharonovich said that police have given the shooting their highest level of investigative priority, adding that police “are witness to dozens of threats made by criminals against mayors and local leaders...Mayors are exposed to all kinds of problems and it is our job to protect them.”
Acre Municipality Spokesman Sharon Dahan said Friday that “the entire city of Acre is in a state of shock and we are hoping that police get their hands on those responsible.”
Dahan said that the deputy mayor has taken over the mayor's post for the time being, and that despite the shock in Acre, the city is operating basically as normal.
Dahan added that two weeks ago Lankry issued a complaint to police after he said he received a personal threat.
Lankry was sitting in his car outside the entrance to Kfar Yasif in the North when he was shot a single time in the chest by a shooter in a passing car. Police said Friday they have a clear ID on the car and are searching the district for the vehicle and the suspects involved in the shooting.
The investigation is being carried out by the Coastal District branch of the YAMAR central investigative unit.
After he was shot, Lankry was able to call an ambulance to take him to hospital in Nahariya, where his condition was listed as moderately wounded but stable. He was conscious and his life was not in danger, the hospital said. Lankry was alone in the car when he was shot.
Interior Minister Gideon Sa'ar (Likud), said Friday morning that the “attempted hit on the mayor of Acre, is a disturbing and severe incident. This incident joins a series of severe incidents recently in which violence was directed at the heads of local authorities, which call for examination ad for lessons to be learned in order to fight this threat against public officials.”
He also spoke to Aharonovich, and the two reportedly agreed to hold a hearing on the matter in cooperation with the Justice Ministry.
In a reaction to the assassination attempt, fellow Mayor of Or Yehuda Simcha Yosivov, urged the government to make a swift and appropriate response on Friday morning.
In a letter directed to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and other prominent security officials, Yosivov wrote: "It is the responsibility of the judicial system to protect the public's chosen representatives. The assassination attempt on my friend, Acre Mayor Shimon Lankry, crosses every red line. The writing is on the wall."
He further suggested that local municipal offices be shut down for the day in order to hold an emergency meeting which will broadcast the message that mayors must "lead their cities without fear."
Police Insp.-Gen. Yohanan Danino promised to place the issue of violence towards mayors at the top of the police's priorities.
His promise came after meeting with MK Miri Regev (Likud) who is the incoming chairwoman of the Interior Committee.
Danino and Regev agreed that there should be an official discussion on the subject.
Last week, a group of Hadera youths were arrested for firebombing Mayor
Haim Avitan's car, during a night of vandalism in February.Jpost.com staff contributed to this report