Hamas-backed Palestinian MP shot at by gunmen

MP Hassan Khraisheh shot at in his Tulkarem home as tensions between Hamas, Fatah rise: 'It seems my straightforwardness has angered some politicians.'

Unidentified gunmen shot at the Palestinian parliament's deputy speaker - an independent supported by Hamas - while he was driving in the northern West Bank on Thursday, he said.



Hassan Khraisheh told AFP that five rounds hit his car as he was driving just a couple of hundred meters from his home in the city of Tulkarem.


Khraisheh was not hurt.


The deputy speaker, who has been outspoken in criticism of the Palestinian Authority headed by President Mahmoud Abbas, said he was informed an investigation was underway.


Tulkarem is an area under full Palestinian security control in the Israeli-occupied West Bank.


Palestinian security officials were not immediately available for comment but according to a number of reports in Palestinian news agency Ma'an, tensions between Fatah and Hamas were running high.


A media watchdog on Thursday condemned what it called an "assassination attempt" in the West Bank earlier in the day against the known government critic, calling it a "serious violation of freedom of expression," Palestinian news agency Ma'an reported


The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms said in a statement that it was "gravely concerned" by the attack on Palestinian MP Khraisheh, whose car was shot at with live bullets as he was driving from his home in Tulkarem Thursday morning.


MADA said that Khraisha was well known for his opposition to the policies of the Palestinian Authority, and quoted the lawmaker - who was not injured in the attack - as saying: "This was a direct attempt to assassinate me, not just a threat to silence me."


According to Ma'an, the center said the attack was the second such targeting in recent weeks, noting that Abdulasattar Qasem - an al-Najah University professor of political science also known as a critic of the Palestinian Authority, was shot with live bullets near his home in Nablus on Aug. 5.


The shooting occurred only six days after he was punched and threatened by a man during a live TV interview, Ma'an reported the group as adding.


Meanwhile, indicating further strain on the Palestinian unity government, the deputy speaker of the Palestinian parliament Ahmad Bahar, a Hamas official, on Wednesday accused the Palestinian national consensus government and its prime minister Rami Hamdallah of "negligence" towards the besieged Gaza Strip, Ma'an reported.


In a symposium held in Gaza City, Bahar urged the government to fulfill its duties in Gaza, particularly the reconstruction of buildings destroyed by Israeli forces and the payment of monthly salaries to civil servants who were employed by the former Hamas-run government.


"We still want the national consensus government and we will support it in its work especially the reconstruction of Gaza," he added, but called for the government to carry out its duties in return.


Although a unity government was put in place after an April government ended eight years of division between Hamas and the PLO, the government has faced obstacles as Israel has heavily targeted Hamas in the months since, Ma'an explained.


פרסום ראשון: 09.05.14, 09:13
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