Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas strongly condemned on Wednesday
the assassination of a security officer in Jenin and said he has ordered PA
security forces to take drastic measures to capture the
Col. Hisham al-Rikh, 40, a top officer with the PA’s
Preventive Security Force in Jenin, was shot dead late Tuesday near the city’s
“We strongly condemn this despicable and cowardly crime,
which is strange to the traditions and morals of our people,” Abbas said in a
statement issued by his office. “We assure our people that we will deal severely
with this suspicious crime.”
Rikh, who also served as head of the Popular
Committee for Services in Jenin camp, was killed when a group of unidentified
gunmen opened fire at his car, residents and eyewitnesses reported.
said that the gunmen continued to fire shots toward Rikh even after he managed
to escape from his car.
His bullet-riddled body was taken to Jenin
Hospital, where he was pronounced dead.
No group claimed responsibility
for the assassination.
Jenin Gov. Talal Dweikat said that the PA security
forces have launched an investigation into the killing. He vowed that the PA
would do its utmost to lay its hands on the assassins and bring them to
The assassination follows a massive and unprecedented clampdown by
PA security forces against lawlessness and anarchy in the Jenin area in recent
The crackdown began after unidentified gunmen opened fire on the
home of the former governor, Kadoura Musa who died a few hours later of a heart
Two months ago, Fatah legislator Shami al-Shami was shot and
wounded in Jenin. His attackers have still not been caught.
2011, a lone gunman shot and killed Israeli- Arab actor and film producer
Juliano Mer Khamis. The case has also not been solved.
Wednesday that the shooting incidents in the Jenin area were part of a power
struggle between rival Fatah groups. They pointed out that one day before the
assassination of the colonel, masked men distributed leaflets in the city
criticizing the PA security forces and threatening to target Fatah loyalists.