Five people were killed Wednesday in a shooting in northern Israel, police said, the latest fatalities in a crime wave hitting the country’s Arab minority.
Three men and two women were shot dead in the Bedouin town of Basmat Tabun, northwest of Nazareth, police said in a statement.
The force gave scant details about the shooting as they said a search was underway for the assailants.
The attack came hours after a man in the nearby city of Haifa was shot dead, police said. He was identified as Arab Israeli in local media.
Wednesday’s fatalities bring to 188 the number of Arab-Israelis killed so far this year, according to the Abraham Initiatives which promotes coexistence between Arabs and Jews.
“The prime minister must sack the minister of public security and immediately put in place a plan to address criminality in the Arab society. It’s a state of emergency,” the organization said in a statement.
Arab Israelis, descendants of Palestinians who stayed on their land after Israel’s creation in 1948, comprise around 20 percent of the country’s 9.7 million population.
Experts say Arab gangs have amassed large quantities of illegal weapons over the past two decades and are involved in drug and other crimes.
Many in the community say they are discriminated against by the Jewish majority and accuse Israeli authorities of failing to properly investigate violence.
Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said this month that Israel was engaged in a “genuine war against the severe crime in the Arab sector.”
“Violence that does not distinguish between men and women, the young and the old, ordinary citizens and elected officials, candidates or council heads,” he said.