Palestinian militants in Ramallah 370.
(photo credit: REUTERS/Darren Whiteside)
Unidentified gunmen in Ramallah opened fire Tuesday morning at the car of Sufian
Abu Zaida, a senior Fatah official.
Abu Zaida, a member of the Fatah
Revolutionary Council, was not in the car when the attack took place, shortly
before 7 a.m. At least 20 bullets hit the vehicle.
It was the second
incident of its kind in Ramallah in the past few weeks.
A similar attack
in the city targeted the car of another senior Fatah official, Majed Abu
Shamaleh. Abu Shamaleh, an elected member of the Palestinian Legislative
Council, was not hurt.
The shooting attacks are believed to be connected
to internal squabbling in Fatah.
Both Abu Zaida and Abu Shamaleh are from
the Gaza Strip, but moved to Ramallah after Hamas seized control of Gaza in
The two are also close to ousted Fatah official Muhammad Dahlan –
the political rival of the faction’s leader, Palestinian Authority President
Mahmoud Abbas. Dahlan previously served as a security commander in the Gaza
Relations between Abbas and Dahlan have deteriorated over the past
few years, prompting the PA president to expel him from Fatah. Dahlan, who has
since been waging a campaign against Abbas, is currently living in the United
Last year, another Fatah official closely associated with
Dahlan was shot and wounded in Jenin. Shami al-Shami, who is also a member of
the Palestinian Legislative Council, took two bullets to the
Although no group has claimed responsibility for the attacks on
Dahlan’s associates, sources in Ramallah said that Fatah gunmen loyal to Abbas
were apparently behind the shootings.
The sources pointed out that the
perpetrators had never been caught – a sign that they were affiliated with Abbas
or the Fatah-dominated PA security forces in the West Bank.
Tuesday’s attack, Abu Zaida pointed a finger at Abbas.
“I hold President
Abbas, in his capacity as president of the Palestinian Authority and commander
of the security forces, personally responsible for what happened to me and my
colleagues and what could happen in the future,” he said.
“I call on
Abbas to reveal the identity of the perpetrators of this crime and previous
Abu Zaida said the assailants and their dispatchers were trying to
send a message that he and his colleagues from the Gaza Strip should leave
“Every Palestinian is entitled to live wherever he wants,” he
added. “Even if they shoot me next time, they won’t force me to leave [Ramallah]
against my will.”
Abu Zaida, who was born in the Jabalya refugee camp in
the northern Gaza Strip, served as PA minister of prisoner affairs in 2005 and
2006. He was also a member of the steering committee of the Peopleto- People
program, which aimed to enhance Israeli-Palestinian relations.
recently published an article in which he denounced Abbas as a tyrant.
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