Police arrest two brothers on suspicion of Highway 6 ‘gang’ shooting

Police suspect that the incident may have been part of a blood feud between two families from Lod.

Shooting incident near Nahshonim Interchange, Dec. 28, 2020 (photo credit: ALON HACHMON)
Shooting incident near Nahshonim Interchange, Dec. 28, 2020
(photo credit: ALON HACHMON)
The Israel Police have arrested two brothers from Lod, ages 21 and 23, on suspicion of involvement in a gangland shooting on Highway 6 Monday morning.
In a shooting attack like one out of a Hollywood mafia movie, a man and a youth succumbed to their injuries on Monday when their car was riddled with bullets while driving under police protection. The youth was 17 years old, N12 reported.
Shots were fired at the vehicle from a passing car near Nahshonim interchange, the police said.
Three police patrol cars were accompanying a convoy of vehicles belonging to the Abu Saluk family from Lod, who were leaving the city after the body of Yousef Azberga, 60, a member of a rival crime family, was found overnight in the mixed Jewish-Arab city.
The Abu Saluk family was on its way to Kafr Kassem with the aim of residing there until the situation settled down in Lod. Members of the two families, who are known to police, were rival gangs in Lod, media outlets reported.
Two police cars broke away from the convoy to chase a car that was driving against traffic on the other side of the road, acting as bait and leaving an opening that was exploited in the attack, Haaretz reporter Bar Peleg tweeted on Monday. The car that was used as bait was later allegedly burned.
As the convoy drove on Highway 6, a Skoda sedan sped up alongside a white Toyota and opened fire. The Toyota then drove off the side of the road and flipped over, leading police to initially believe it was a car accident.
The assailants continued traveling as police provided aid to the victims. Police officers were conducting intelligence operations in an attempt to track down the escaped Skoda vehicle.
Ass-Ch. Amichai Eshed rejected allegations of police misconduct. “We look after the safety of the public, but we’re not a security detail unit,” N12 reported.
A Magen David Adom team of medics arrived at the scene and evacuated two injured men to the Rabin Medical Center-Beilinson Campus in Petah Tikva.
Shots also were fired at another vehicle that stopped at a traffic island and at a third vehicle a few meters further down the road, the police said.
“When we arrived at the scene, we saw a vehicle in a ditch on the side of the road,” said Avichai Hadad, deputy director of Magen David Adom in the Yarkon district. “Two young men traveling in the vehicle were unconscious with [bodily] injuries. We provided them with life-saving treatment in the field and quickly evacuated them to the hospital in critical condition.”
Violence in the Arab sector has long been a problem in Israel. More than 100 murders have occurred in the sector since the beginning of the year, the police reported earlier this month.
Joint List MK Mansour Abbas, deputy speaker of the Knesset and head of the Committee on Eradicating Crime in Arab Society, said Monday’s shooting had changed all norms regarding the mounting violence.
“The situation has been getting worse for years, and today all the parameters broke new records,” he told KAN News.
Last month, at a committee meeting , a five-year plan was unveiled to fight serious crime, increase enforcement and improve economic activities in the Arab sector. It calls for building more police stations, recruiting more Arab police officers, using technological means to find and track criminals and implementing new legal measures to strengthen enforcement against weapons offenses. It also includes stepping up collaboration between police and the local authorities.
Abbas said he hoped the program announced last month would be approved by the government next week.
“We have to forget about continuing as before – the government, the police and the Arab sector,” he said. “It’s a matter of pikuah nefesh [saving lives].”