A view of the city of Nablus.
(photo credit: SETH J. FRANTZMAN)
Nine wanted suspects for allegedly participating in the shooting of two PA security officers in August turned themselves in on Friday, Nablus Gov. Akram Rjoub said.
“After months of being pursued, the group accused of killing Palestinian security personnel decided to listen to the voice of justice and reason and turned themselves in to the security forces,” Rjoub told Palestinian journalist Muath al-Shareeda on Friday in a telephone call.
The suspects who turned themselves in are: Imad al-Din Ahmad Iz Halawa, Muayid Fathi Saba Astitiah, Saif al-Din Ahmad Iz Halawa, Jamal Ahmad Iz Halawa, Muhammad Tahsin Abd al-Mujid al-Ghanim and Ihab Nabil Khalid, according to Maan, a Palestinian news outlet.
Gunmen and Palestinian Authority police exchanged fire in the Nablus casbah in mid-August, resulting in the death of two PA officers, Muhammad Taraira and Shibli Bani Shamsa.
Following the clash, the PA security forces began to round up suspects involved in the shooting of the two officers, but many remained at large over the past several months, according to PA security officials.
However, Rjoub said the PA security forces’ campaign in the Nablus casbah ended on Friday: “Now that these people turned themselves in, I believe that this file is behind us…the reasons that required the PA security forces’ presence in the casbah are no longer relevant and we are about to relocate these forces.”
Scores of additional PA security forces have been stationed in the casbah’s narrow streets since August.
Rjoub added that no plea agreement was made between the PA security forces and the suspects.
“There was no secret agreement,” Rjoub remarked, saying that they turned themselves in because “they did some introspection and reconsidered their concerns.”
The suspects are expected to be put on trial in the coming months.
Nablus has been the site of increased violence over the past several months. Most recently in mid-November, clashes between gunmen and PA security forces killed Hilda Usta, a civilian bystander.