'We didn’t train PA officer who killed soldier'

EU police advisers say attacker was trained by Palestinian instructors in Jericho academy, served in PA Police headquarters in Ramallah.

February 11, 2010 22:50
1 minute read.
A police officer stands next to a turned-over mili

Tapuah attack 311. (photo credit: AP)

The head of an EU police mission in the West Bank met with the head of the Ramallah police on Thursday, to discuss a PA police officer’s fatal stabbing of an IDF soldier a day earlier.

Police chief Maj.-Gen. Hazem Attallah told Henrik Malmquist, the Swede who is commissioner of the EU Police Mission for the Palestinian Territories (EUPOL COPPS), that the attacker, Muhammad Hatib, was not trained by EUPOL.

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EUPOL COPPS started operating in 2006, with the aim to contribute to the establishment of sustainable and effective policing arrangements and to advise Palestinian counterparts on criminal justice- and rule of law-related subjects under Palestinian ownership, in accordance with the best international standards.

The IDF soldier, St.-Sgt. Maj. Ihab Khatib, 28, from the northern village of Maghar and a member of the Kfir Brigade, was on his way from Jenin to a military outpost near the Tapuah junction, located on Road 60, a main highway that crosses the West Bank. He was driving a Sufa jeep with the window down when he had to stop in a traffic jam. Hatib spotted the opportunity and thrust a knife in Khatib’s chest.

Hatib, sources said, had studied at a security academy in Jericho that is directed by Tawfik Tirawi, a former head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service. He was trained by Palestinian instructors at the Jericho academy and served for the past seven months in the Palestinian Authority Police headquarters in Ramallah.

The EUPOL COPPS was not involved in his training, spokesman Koussay Boulaich said on Thursday, noting that the group remained committed to continuing to train PA policemen and to assist the Palestinians in establishing an effective police force.

In 2009, the PA’s civilian police force received 277 policing vehicles, and EUPOL COPPS oversaw the construction of the Jericho Police Training School, set for completion later this year. Palestinian civilian detention facilities have undergone refurbishment, and a new prison is being constructed in Jericho, the organization said.

EUPOL COPPS is made up of 41 foreign staff members and 25 Palestinians. It was launched by the European Council and is one of the 10 civilian European Security and Defense Policy Missions currently active.

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