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Israeli Arab accused of terror murder entering Haifa court

The Haifa Prosecution on Monday indicted Muhammad Shinawi, 21, a resident of Haifa, for the January 3, 2017 shooting murder of Guy Kafri, 47, a van driver from Haifa’s Nesher neighborhood, and the attempted murder of Yechiel Illouz, a rabbinical judge on the Haifa Rabbinical Court.

According to the 0404 News police reporter Boaz Golan, Haifa police and the court were engaged for weeks in an attempted cover-up of the fact that the murderer, a Muslim, acted on his hatred of Jews. There was a broad gag order in place while the police were searching for the terrorist in Haifa.


Golan related on Monday how, after the judge pronounced this a terrorism case, reporters had been asked to keep mum about it.

Reporters were called in for closed meetings in which they were told that it would be for everyone’s benefit if their reports would not stress the fact that an Arab resident of Haifa committed a “nationalistic” crime.

Shinawi is the first Haifa Arab indicted for terrorism. To date Haifa Arabs had only been charged with aiding and abetting terrorists.

According to Golan, this attitude has been widespread in Haifa’s law enforcement community. He cited cases in which Haifa police and city hall discouraged reporting even on stone throwing by Arabs who live in the city.

Apparently, local Arab merchants had been pushing the city to play down the terror aspect of Shinawi’s murder spree, arguing such news would discourage Jewish shoppers from coming to the lower city, at the foot of Carmel the mountains, near the harbor, where the Arab community resides and has its businesses.

Golan wrote on Monday that anyone who goes through the cities of downtown Haifa and even the Hadar HaCarmel neighborhood, can’t avoid the Palestinian flags hanging from many windows. He also cited spontaneous demonstrations that occasionally take place on Ben Gurion Boulevard which connects the Jewish neighborhoods near UNESCO Square with the lower city.

Monday’s indictment finally removed the veil from this anti-Semitic murder and attempted murder, and the court removed the gag that for more than three weeks had prevented the media from identifying the crime as such. The indictment described how over the years Israeli Arab Muhammad Shinawi had developed hatred for Jews and how he had come to believe that Jews are heretics whose blood is permitted.

According to the indictment, in early January, 2017, the accused purchased an improvised “Karlo” submachine gun, spray painted it black and hid it near his apartment building. He spent the following two days training in forests outside Haifa. On the night before the murder he asked a family member, a minor, to bring him the weapon, which he did. Shinawi then loaded the weapon with one magazine.

On January 3, at close to 9:30 AM, the accused arrived at Ha’Atzmaut (Independence) Street in Haifa, in order to carry out his attack. He noticed Illouz because of his religious appearance, followed him and shot him while keeping the weapon inside his shoulder bag. Illouz was hit by three bullets and collapsed on the sidewalk, and the accused fled the scene running.

Shinawi then boarded a taxi and by 10 AM reached a bridge on Hagiborim Street. He saw Kafri walking by himself, walked up to him, verified that he was a Jew and shot him several times, hitting him in the neck and left chest, causing his death. Shinawi dropped the weapon under a bush and began to roam the city on foot and using public transportation, in an attempt to avoid security forces.

That evening, Shinawi ordered a food delivery from a local restaurant. With the support of two friends, he got hold of a sheep slaughtering knife with a 13.5 inch blade, and the three drove up to Brenner Street, where Shinawi waited for the delivery man in a thicket. He planned to murder the delivery man, but the latter became suspicious and drove off.

Shinawi then stole a scooter and rode into the Naveh Sha’anan neighborhood, parked the scooter and stashed the knife in some vegetation. Suspicious neighbors alerted police who arrived soon after. Shinawi fled and spent the night inside a mosque. The next day he went to the Damascus Gate in Jerusalem, became skittish seeing the security forces presence there, went to Tel Aviv and from there returned to Haifa. After roaming the city, he went to see his uncle in Jadeidi-Makr, outside Acre. A few hours later, Shinawi’s uncle talked him into surrendering to the Acre police.

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