They were shot dead under the residential building where they live after returning from shopping at the supermarket, according to Israeli media and emergency services. The girl’s twin sister, Miriam, was taken to Shamir Medical Center in moderate condition.
“They were quiet neighbors who never harmed anyone,” said Fida Shahada, a member of the Lod City Council. “We live in the wild west, when in the middle of the city of Lod, near the police station and the city hall, women are murdered. There is no protection for the residents of the city; you go out and don’t know if you will return home.”
"They were quiet neighbors who never harmed anyone. We live in the wild west, when in the middle of the city of Lod, near the police station and the city hall, women are murdered. There is no protection for the residents of the city, you go out and don't know if you will return home."Lod city councilwoman Fida Shahada
Israel Police have opened an investigation into the incident, collecting evidence and searching the surrounding area upon receiving the initial call, adding that the circumstances are still unclear. Unconfirmed reports suggest that criminal connections of the family’s father may have been the catalyst for the murder.
MDA medics and paramedics who arrived at the scene evacuated the injured to Shamir Medical Center, but had to pronounce Manar and Hadra dead at the hospital.
What did the paramedics find when they arrived at the scene?
Initial reports about the incident were received at the MDA hotline at 10:39 p.m. Paramedics Ziv Perman, Maher El Shamali and MDA medic Amir Engelman were the first responders at the scene.
“There was a big commotion at the scene. We saw three women lying injured with penetrating injuries, [including] a 34-year-old woman who was unconscious, without a pulse and not breathing; we immediately put her in an intensive care unit and evacuated her to a hospital during resuscitation operations,” they recounted.
MDA paramedic Rami Meshitar spoke with Golan Yokhpaz and Anat Davidov on 103FM about the difficult event: “We realized that the scene [was] becoming more complex and we sent out more forces than we regularly do in shooting events. The 14-year-old who survived was aware of the condition of the mother and sister and kept asking what was happening to them.”
At 1:41 a.m., advancements in the case were presented to the commander of the Central District, Superintendent Avi Biton, who was present at the scene together with the Shfela regional command and investigation, intelligence and forensics teams.
The victims were not in conflict with any criminal elements and there is no information or indication of complaints related to domestic violence.
Biton stated that this is the “most serious case in the district today – which will be investigated as a top priority.” At this stage, the investigation of the murder was assigned to the central police unit of the Shfela area, with all the relevant arrays at the disposal of the investigating unit.
In addition, the district commander directed an increased deployment of forces in the city, while strengthening targeted enforcement, according to a statement made at the scene.
Chief Superintendent Yaakov Shabtai established a mission headquarters in Lod, which will consist of approximately 300 police officers and will operate in the coming weeks. The task force will provide tighter security and will carry out significant operational and offensive activities in the sector.
Israeli officials respond to the terrible murder
The Mayor of Lod, Adv. Yair Revivo, said that this was a “shaking, infuriating and shocking incident. This is how we treat the trivialities of human life. I am sorry to say – the country is not waking up. I think, and I say this bluntly, this is about an ‘Arab who murdered an Arab’ and maybe it doesn’t interest everyone on the agenda – [but] it should interest all of us.
“This is a violation of the personal security of all the residents of the State of Israel, and I simply feel sorry for the Arab population who have been living under continuous criminal terrorism in recent years,” he said. “Every year, over 100 Arab citizens are murdered by Arabs.”
Prime Minister Yair Lapid tweeted that the terrible incident, “together with the sequence of violent events of the last few days, requires us to increase enforcement and the presence of police forces in the cities and to increase the punishment for any act of violence,” sending his condolences and wishes for a speedy recovery.
הרצח הנורא בלוד של מנאר חג'אג' ובתה חדרה בת ה-14 יחד עם רצף ארועי האלימות של הימים האחרונים מחייב אותנו להגביר את האכיפה והנוכחות של כוחות משטרה בערים ולהחמיר את הענישה מול כל מעשה אלימות. אני שולח ניחומים למשפחת חג׳אג׳ והחלמה מהירה לאחות התאומה.— יאיר לפיד - Yair Lapid (@yairlapid) September 6, 2022
Labor MK Ibtisam Mara’ana-Menuhin called on Lapid to “intervene immediately. The innocent Israeli-Arab citizens are under a murderous attack. We will not accept the shedding of blood and lives under the terror of crime that does not differentiate between women and girls.”
A wave of murders in Arab communities
Nidal Aghbariya, an Arab journalist who ran the Bldtna news site, was shot to death in his car in Umm el-Fahm on Sunday night.
A video reportedly from the scene and posted on Bldtna showed journalist Hassan Shalan shouting at the police, “You should be ashamed of yourselves, because you do not want to work. You come to the crime scene and take pictures without doing anything.”
Seventy-five Arabs have lost their lives so far during 2022, nine of whom were women, in circumstances related to violence and crime, according to NGO Avraham Initiatives.