A 33-year-old man and his two-year-old son were killed in an apparent criminally-motivated shooting in Nazareth on Tuesday, Maariv reported.
The father was treated on the scene but shortly after died from his wounds. The two-year-old child was evacuated to EMMS Nazareth Hospital in serious condition and treated there, but intensive efforts to save his life failed and he later died as well.
Israel Police suspect the motivation for the shooting to be a dispute between criminals and opened an investigation into its circumstances.
After visiting the crime scene and holding a situation assessment about the incident, Israel Police Commissioner Kobi Shabtai commented: "We are seeing a connection to criminal gangs trying to enter the vacuum that was left by the police taking out other crime families. Israel Police expresses its sorrow over the unfathomable, abominable and merciless murder of a two-year-old toddler. Israel Police will continue to act with determination and aggression against all the criminals who endanger the public and harm the sense of security."
Violence in the Arab sector
In reaction to the incident, the Abraham Initiative, a Jewish-Arab organization that works to promote coexistence and equality, released a statement condemning the shooting. According to the statement, 109 Arabs have died from criminal violence this year, of which 63 were under the age of 30 and 13 were women.
Violence in the Arab society in Israel has been in the spotlight for some years. Last year, the violence in the sector exploded to a dramatic peak of 130 murders – an average of a murder every three days. This year, joint efforts of nine governmental offices launched the “Maslul Batuah” (Safe Route) operation, which set out to stem the tide of crime in Arab communities.
It has succeeded in arresting some suspects and confiscating weapons, but the violence still continues.
Roman Meitav contributed to this report.