Six Palestinian citizens of Israel have been killed in two separate shootings, police said, the latest fatalities in a crime wave hitting the country’s Palestinian minority.
Five members of the same family were killed on Wednesday in a shooting in northern Israel. The three men and two women were shot dead in broad daylight in the town of Basmat Tabun, northwest of Nazareth, police said in a statement.
The Abraham Initiatives, a Jewish-Arab advocacy and monitoring group in Israel, identified the victims as a couple and their three adult children.
Police said they were treating the incident as criminal and hunting down suspected assailants.
Earlier on Wednesday, masked gunmen ambushed and killed another Palestinian citizen of Israel, who was on his way to work in the nearby coastal city of Haifa. Police said they were investigating whether the two shootings were connected.
Authorities in al-Halisa, the Haifa neighbourhood where Wednesday’s first killing took place, shuttered all schools and asked that students study from home for at least another day.
Wednesday’s fatalities brought the number of Palestinian citizens of Israel killed so far this year to 188, according to the Abraham Initiatives.
Palestinians have long voiced anger at what they have said is a deliberate lack of policing in their towns and neighbourhoods – giving criminals and drug dealers free rein.