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Israel's Druze community on strike after quadruple homicide

Israel's Druze community is shocked by the killing of four men in broad daylight, including a former soldier who was running for local office.

The Druze community in Israel is on strike Wednesday after the murder of four Druze men on Tuesday evening. The four were shot in the northern Druze town of Abu Snan, bringing the number of Arab Israelis killed since the beginning of the year to 158.

One of the victims was Ghazi Sa'ad, who was running for mayor in the upcoming municipal elections, scheduled for the end of October. He had served for several years as senior officer at the IDF border police force. Two other victims — Zahir al-Din Sa'ab and Amir Sa'ab — were related to Sa’ad and also from the town of Abu Snan. The fourth victim was Salman Halbi from the nearby village of Yarka.

The reason for the shooting is yet unknown. Family members said that the murder took place at a plot where Amir Sa’ad was constructing a guest house. Zahir al-Din Sa'ab and Ghazi Sa'ad apparently came to visit him and invited Salman Halbi, who was working at his olive plantation nearby, to join them for coffee. The three were sitting together drinking coffee when they were shot.

The community’s spiritual leader Sheikh Muffed Tarif announced the strike as he and heads of Druze municipal and regional councils met with Knesset members to discuss the ongoing wave of violence in the Arab and Druze sectors. Tarif said, “The Druze community places the responsibility for the lack of security in the north on the police and the government,” and noted that the strike is “an act of protest against the failures of the police and the government in enforcing the law and personal security.”

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