Members of Palestinian security forces disperse a Hamas demonstration in Hebron in the West Bank. December 14, 2018. .
(photo credit: MUSSA QAWASMA / REUTERS)
A senior Fatah official from Hebron claimed on Sunday that several gunmen tried to assassinate him, while two other officials said they, too, were targeted by the assassins.
The three officials belong to the powerful Qawassmeh clan. No one was hurt in the incidents, which prompted residents of Hebron to appeal to the Palestinian Authority to immediately intervene and prevent the return of scenes of anarchy and lawlessness to the streets of the city.
Several gunmen were arrested Saturday after they showed up outside the home of Osama Qawassmeh, member of the Fatah Revolutionary Council and the faction’s spokesman in the West Bank.
Qawassmeh said he does not know the identity of the gunmen who allegedly tried to kill him.
Sources in Hebron, however, said that some of the gunmen were members of the PA security forces and Fatah’s armed wing, al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. They claimed that the suspects were later released by PA forces.
The apparent assassination attempt, the sources said, was directly linked to a sharp dispute between the Qawassmeh clan and Emad Kharwat, secretary-general of Fatah in the Hebron area.
According to the sources, at least 30 gunmen arrived in the Al-Haras neighborhood of Hebron and began shooting in the air. Qawassmeh said that member of his family engaged in a gun battle with the masked attackers.
Dozens of PA policemen and security officers who were rushed to the area detained most of the gunmen and confiscated their weapons, the sources added.
A source close to Qawassmeh described the gunmen as “mercenaries, cowards and criminals.”
A second senior Fatah official in Hebron, former PA minister Khaled Qawassmeh, said that gunmen also opened fire at his home on Saturday.
A third Fatah official, Hisham Qawassmeh, said gunmen fired several shots at his near his home in Hebron on Friday night.
The Qawassmeh clan, one of the largest families in Hebron, accused the Fatah leader in the city, Imad Kharwat, of being behind the gunmen. Members of the clan said that Kharwat sought revenge after the Qawassmeh clan accused him of involvement in financial corruption and sex scandals.
In a statement, the clan called on PA President Mahmoud Abbas to form a commission of inquiry to investigate the incidents in Hebron.
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