Channel 13 news reported that Ezzat Hamad, the man who was shot in a targeted killing in the Tel Aviv underworld on Saturday night, was a “high-profile racketeer” in the center of the country.
Hamad, 55, was riding a motorbike when he was killed by another motorcyclist, in a suspected mob attack on the streets of south Tel Aviv. Magen David Adom paramedics said they found him lying on the road with multiple gunshot wounds. Attempts to save him failed, and they were forced to declare his death.
According to Channel 13, Hamad spent 12 years in prison for attempted murder and was released in 2004. He was in and out of prison several times over the next 15 years. Four of Hamad’s brothers were also reported to have been killed, due to their participation in mob activities centered in Jaffa.
Walla News described Hamad as “the king of the protection racket,” and a police official told the news site that he was “the head of a criminal organization that was in conflict with quite a few other criminals. He had a lot of enemies and it’s not clear at this point who sent the killers.”
Channel 12 reported that Jaffa residents are afraid of the repercussions of the killing of such a powerful figure.
“We are very concerned, when someone of this magnitude is killed – there is no way they can go through smoothly,” one resident said. It is only a matter of time until the revenge. The biggest concern is that this will take Jaffa back to the assassination days in the 1990s.”
The resident added: “Everyone in Jaffa knows Izzat Hamad – from young to old. He was a national criminal. He was living in lost time for many years.”
Arab cities and towns have seen an upsurge in violence in recent years, with organized crime seen as the main driver. Arab Israelis blame the police, who they say have failed to suppress powerful criminal organizations and largely ignore violence, which includes family feuds, mafia wars and violence against women.
The Ibrahim Initiative, a group that campaigns against violence in the Arab community, said Saturday, before the killing of Jaffa, that 48 Arab citizens have been killed in the country due to violent crimes since the beginning of the year. She indicated that 28 of those included in the death toll this year were under the age of 30.
In 2020, 96 Israeli Arabs were killed, the highest annual death toll in recent memory.
More than 90 percent of shootings in Israel last year took place in Arab towns, according to police, even though Israeli Arabs make up about a fifth of the country’s population.