Palestinian Authority security officials arrested a Hamas operative in Jenin suspected of involvement in the murder of actor, filmmaker and peace activist Juliano Mer-Khamis.

Several other suspects were arrested on Monday night following the murder, many of whom were later released. Both the IDF and the PA security forces were investigating the circumstances and motive of the murder, which remained unclear.

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Actor Juliano Mer-Khamis gunned down in Jenin

Zacharia Zabaidi, a close friend of Mer-Khamis and a former commander of the Al-Aksa Martyr's Brigade said that the actor fell victim to power struggles among Palestinian factions, Israel Radio reported.

Mer-Khamis, 52, was shot dead in his car Monday in Jenin, the volatile West Bank city in which he made his home and founded the controversial Freedom Theater.

A masked assailant shot Mer-Khamis five times from close range at the entrance to the theater, a Palestinian Authority security source said, adding that a woman who was in the car was lightly wounded.

Mer-Khamis is survived by his wife, who is pregnant with twins, and was reportedly also with him at the time of the shooting.

Mer-Khamis was rushed from the theater in the Jenin refugee camp to the city’s hospital, but doctors were unable to save his life.

His body was later transferred through a checkpoint to Israeli authorities and taken to the Institute of Forensic Medicine at Abu Kabir.

Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Salam Fayyad condemned the killing.

“We cannot stand silent in the face of this ugly crime,” he said. “It constitutes a grave violation that goes beyond all principles and human values, and it contravenes the customs and ethics of coexistence.”

Kadoura Musa, the PA governor of Jenin, said a team had been set up to investigate the murder.

“The person who did this will be caught regardless of his identity,” Musa said. Mer- Khamis, he said, “was a resident of the Jenin refugee camp and helped build Palestine. He did not deserve to die this way.”

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