Four suspects were arrested on Wednesday on suspicion of involvement in the murder of Nidal Aghbariya, an Arab journalist who ran the Bldtna news site, according to Israel Police.
The police's central unit, Border Police, canine units and additional forces arrested the suspects after conducting an undercover investigation. They are all residents of Umm el-Fahm between the ages of 20 and 30 years old. A pistol was found in the home of one of the suspects.
Police will request an extension of their arrest on Wednesday.
Murder sparked outrage among Israeli Arabs
Aghbariya was shot to death in his car in Umm el-Fahm in early September. The murder sparked outrage among Israeli Arabs.
The Union of Journalists in Israel said at the time it was “shaken” by the murder and expressed condolences to Aghbariya’s family.
“Israel Police must act immediately to locate the murderers and bring them to justice, and act more vigorously in order to eradicate the epidemic of violence in Arab society,” the union said.
The Hadash Party also responded to the murder, stating, “The police had known for a year that the criminal organizations had marked Nidal Aghbariya’s house. A year ago, his house was shot up when he and his family were at home, but the police did not act to arrest the criminals.
“Nidal was murdered today due to the incompetence of Israel Police,” the party said. “The murder of a journalist is an attempt to silence the voice of the Arab protest against violence and crime. The Israel Police must put an end to the neglect of Arab society, take the weapons off the streets and bring the vile murderers to justice.”
The Mossawa Center expressed outrage at the murder, stressing that Aghbariya had been shot at before “and the police were silent.”
“Tonight, they killed him so that every Arab journalist would know that he had better not deal with crime and corruption,” said the center. “It is unfortunate that the Arab journalists were left alone. On the one hand, they suffer from the violence of the police, and on the other hand, from the violence of the criminal organizations.”
The Umm el-Fahm Municipality eulogized Aghbariya, saying, “The late, the slain and the deceased media figure... was known for nothing but goodness, honesty, good morals, [he was] a generous and religious person, loved by all who knew him; a great loss for Umm el-Fahm.”
The municipality condemned the murder and called on the police to take action.