Arab-Israeli man killed during clashes between police and local residents


JERUSALEM (JTA) — An Arab-Israeli man in his 20s was shot and killed during clashes between police and local residents.

The incident occurred early Tuesday morning in the central Israel town of Kfar Qassem after Israel police sought to arrest a local resident who was wanted for questioning.

Protesters seeking to block the arrest set fire to police vehicles and threw rocks. During the confrontation, Mohammed Taha was shot by a security guard at the entrance to the local police station. He later died in a hospital in Petah Tikvah in central Israel.

Israel Police said in a statement that an initial investigation showed that the guard sensed danger and opened fire, killing Taha.

“The police are continuing to relate to the Arab population as enemies that [others] should be protected from — and not as citizens that should be protected. The citizens are no longer prepared to accept this distorted reality,” said Ayman Odeh, an Arab-Israeli lawmaker and chairman of the Joint Arab List party.

An Arab-Israeli umbrella group called for a general strike in the Arab sector on Wednesday, including schools, businesses and public services. The group also called for a protest on Saturday in Kfar Qassem, Ynet reported.

A wave of violence and crime has swept Kfar Qassem and other Arab-Israeli towns, which Arab officials blame on fewer police resources dedicated to their communities. Six people have been killed in Kfar Qassem in the last two months in local violence.

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