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Israeli citizen kills Palestinian man after apparent road-rage brawl

Palestinian figures and family of slain teenager blame 'cold-blooded murder' on policy urging Jewish citizens to take law into own hands
Diyar Omri, 19, was shot dead on 6 May by an Israeli civilian after an apparent road rage brawl (Social media)
Diyar Omri, 19, was shot dead on 6 May by an Israeli civilian after an apparent road rage brawl (Social media)

The family of a Palestinian citizen of Israel who was killed by a Jewish Israeli on Sunday demanded justice for his "cold-blooded murder". 

Diyar Omri, 19, from the village of Sandala in northern Israel, was shot dead on Saturday by an Israeli civilian after an apparent road-rage brawl. 

Footage from the incident showed the shooter arguing with Omri on the side of the road before pulling a gun and shooting him to death. 

Israeli police said 32-year-old Denis Mukin, who lives in the nearby village of Gan Ner, was arrested on suspicion of killing Omri. He was found with a gun at the scene and tests showed he was driving without a valid licence and under the influence. His arrest was extended for a week pending further investigations.

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His attorney said Mukin acted in self-defence and had fired a warning shot in the air before shooting Omri, who he believed had gone to his car to get something to attack him with. A police investigator appeared to dismiss the self-defence claim, according to the Times of Israel.

Omri's family and Palestinian leaders blamed the incident on the policy of the Israeli government, which has encouraged citizens to arm themselves and take the law into their own hands when dealing with perceived threats from Palestinians.  

"Diyar never hurt anyone. He never treated anyone unjustly regardless of their background - Arab, Jewish, Christian or otherwise," Mahmoud Omri, Diyar's uncle, told Middle East Eye. 

"What happened was a result of deep-seated hatred towards our town. We have recently noticed increased hatred towards Sandala's youth."

Palestinian citizens of Israel make up around 20 percent of the country's population and are descended from native Palestinians who were not expelled by Zionist militias during the creation of Israel in 1948.

In a statement released on Sunday, the family said the funeral would take place after the Asr, or mid-afternoon prayers, and invited Palestinian citizens to attend and join them in demanding justice for the slain teenager. 

"The Al-Omari family mourns in Sandala and throughout Palestine, inside the homeland and abroad, to our Palestinian people, the young martyr Diyar Omri, who was killed by the bullets of an Israeli terrorist settler, in cold blood, on Saturday,” the statement read. 

"We welcome our people to participate in the funeral of the martyr Diyar Omri.

"Glory to the martyrs of our people, and freedom to the detainees of the village of Sandala, who were arrested in the police crackdown in the wake of the just anger over the murder."

'[The killing was] a clear product of a racist policy and bloodletting of the Palestinian citizens of Israel by the government' 

- Aida Touma-Suleiman, Hadash MP

Following Omri's death, hundreds of Palestinians held an impromptu protest in Sandala on Saturday to demand justice for his death.

Local media said Israeli police attempted to quell the protests violently and arrested dozens of protesters. 

Ameer Makhoul, a Haifa-based Palestinian analyst, told MEE that Omri was the "martyr of Israeli fascism".

"What the criminal did was the application of orders by the Israeli government to [Jewish] citizens to carry their weapons and use them when they feel threatened," Makhoul said. 

Aida Touma-Suleiman, an MP with the left-wing, majority-Palestinian Hadash party, said the killing was "a clear product of a racist policy and bloodletting of the Palestinian citizens of Israel by the government, the [National Security] minister and the police commissioner".

Walid al-Huashla, an MP with the United Arab List, slammed Israel's far-right National Security Minister Itamar Ben Gvir for loosening gun licensing procedures, which he suggested led to the killing. 

"This is the painful and terrible result when the minister distributes arms left and right. ... A civilian was murdered when he posed no danger. This policy will lead to chaos and street executions, just like what happened today," al-Huashla said.

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