Photo Credit: Courtesy Honenu
Car windshield smashed in Arab attack. (archive)

The home of Ynet Arab affairs journalist Hassan Sha’alan was targeted in a shooting attack at around 1:50 am Wednesday night in Tayibe.

About an hour before the attack, two masked gunmen were outside the home asking neighbors where the journalist lives.

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His home was “showered with bullets” that were fired at the house and at his vehicle in Tayibe — which was seriously damaged.

Three bullets struck his children’s bedroom – and the children, ages 4 and 13, were in the room at the time the bullets were flying.

One bullet narrowly missed the head of the reporter’s 13-year-old daughter, by barely four inches (10 centimeters). Like his sister, the four-year-old son was physically unharmed, but certainly traumatized.

When the gunfire started, Sha’alan said he was working on his next piece; initially he assumed the bullet was a ricochet from a nearby shooting. But he quickly realized that wasn’t the case.

One of the attackers used Sha’alan’s name while yelling a curse as he fled the scene: this made it clear to the journalist that he himself was targeted, rather than being hit in random gunfire. The home was damaged by the bullets.

Sha’alan told Ynet that he has received death threats in the past but the situation has always been deescalated.

The news outlet underlined that Sha’alan has no personal enemies; therefore it is likely he was targeted due to his work as a journalist. Sha’alan covers the crime wave in Arab towns and society and recently covered the rioting by Israeli Arabs in mixed Jewish-Arab towns.

“This time I wasn’t warned that someone wanted to hurt me,” he told Ynet. “I don’t know who shot at me, or why. I did not hurt anyone and I am not at odds with anyone. I am not a criminal and I have no ties to any criminal organization or money laundering.

“I am an honest man; I’m always on the ground, every place. They could have killed me while I was driving, instead of [opening fire] and not only at home,” he commented.

“These criminals wanted to send a message – ‘You better keep your mouth shut.’ They don’t want us to report on what is happening in Arab society. [But] I am not afraid of anyone. I am still working as usual,” he said.

“This is the first time someone has shot up my home and it is a very bad feeling because I haven’t hurt anyone. My children were almost murdered; I do not know what they will do to me now if I set out on the road.

“I did not expect [it] to get to this point,” Sha’alan added. “I want to take care of my family now. My wife is weeping and I need to calm my children and take them somewhere else.”

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Hana Levi Julian is a Middle East news analyst with a degree in Mass Communication and Journalism from Southern Connecticut State University. A past columnist with The Jewish Press and senior editor at Arutz 7, Ms. Julian has written for Babble.com, Chabad.org and other media outlets, in addition to her years working in broadcast journalism.