Gag order lifted: Suspect arrested in murder of Taibe school principal

Police say Wahal Kayak charged into a teacher’s meeting at the school and gunned down the principal.

Yousef Haj Yihya, the principal of Amal Taibe High School (photo credit: YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT)
Yousef Haj Yihya, the principal of Amal Taibe High School
(photo credit: YOUTUBE SCREENSHOT)
A Taiba man who ran a food counter in a high school gunned down the principal in front of several horrified teachers, all over a business dispute, police cleared for publication on Sunday.
Wahel Kayk, 46, was worried that an initiative to bring in more food vendors would hurt his family business, and he decided to murder principal Yussuf Haj Yihye – a beloved educator and local leader – to put a stop to the plan, police said.
Kayk was arrested already on August 25, the day of the shooting, and has been in custody ever since, undergoing repeated questioning by Central District officers.
Police said on Sunday that they expect to file charges against Kayk for murder and conspiracy in the next few days.
According to investigators, on the day of the shooting, Kayk showed up at the school wearing a coat, sunglasses, hat and gloves, and holding an umbrella over his head. He made his way to the second floor and walked into the principal’s office, where Haj Yihye was meeting with three teachers. He then pulled out his handgun and shot Haj Yihye several times in the head and chest, and fled the scene in his pick-up truck, which was spotted by witnesses.
Not long before his death, Haj Yihye had announced plans to run for mayor of Taiba, leading to speculation that the murder may have been linked to politics.
The murder shocked the Arab community in the Triangle region of the Sharon, long known as a drug and crime plagued city. A number of politicians, including MK Ahmed Tibi (United Arab List-Ta’al) called on authorities to find those responsible and said that the crime was symptomatic of the deadly violence rife within the Arab sector.