Hundreds of Palestinians participated on Wednesday in the funeral of Amjad Odeh,
who was killed a day earlier during an exchange of gunfire between Palestinian
Authority security forces and gunmen in the Askar refugee camp near
Odeh, 37, was shot in the head during a PA security raid to
arrest Yehya Abu Salem. According to residents, he was a member of the Fatah
Hawks armed group in the camp, which they said consisted of a few dozen
disgruntled Fatah gunmen.
They claimed that Odeh was shot by officers
belonging to the Preventive Security Force. However, the PA governor of Nablus,
Jibrin al-Bakri, hinted that the victim may have been killed by gunmen who
opened fire at the officers.
“There was an exchange of gunfire with
gunmen,” Bakri said. “The security force left the camp after arresting the
wanted man [Abu Salem]. When the force returned to its base, it was notified
that a resident had been shot.”
The governor said that an initial
investigation showed that Odeh had been shot from close range whereas the
security force was relatively far from the scene.
He added that while
Odeh had been shot on the left side of his head, the security force was situated
in the opposite direction.
Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the PA security
forces, said that Odeh was “innocent” and that a security force had entered
Askar camp to arrest a man responsible for “chaos and anarchy.”
of the camp said that members of the Fatah Hawks had distributed a leaflet
condemning the resumption of peace talks with Israel two days before Tuesday’s
One resident told The Jerusalem Post that when the security
officers arrived to arrest Odeh, dozens of youths began hurling stones at
“The officers opened fire into the air and left the camp quickly
after arresting Abu Salem,” he said, adding that Odeh was struck in the head
with a single bullet as he was standing outside his upholstery
“We have no doubt that he was shot by the security forces,”
another resident said. “Another man was wounded in the confrontation.”
claimed that Fatah gunmen opened fire at the security forces “only after they
shot and killed Odeh for no reason.”
The killing of Odeh, a former
security prisoner in Israel, triggered a wave of protests in the camp and in
Nablus, during which youths set fire to several PA vehicles and
Husam Khader, a Fatah leader from the nearby Balata refugee
camp, strongly condemned the killing of Odeh and called for firing all the
security commanders in the Nablus area.
“Nablus needs emergency
treatment,” Khader wrote on his Facebook page. “We need a comprehensive national
plan. Nablus and its surroundings are on fire. Where is President Mahmoud Abbas?
Where is the weak and powerless government?”
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