Gunmen attack home of Palestinian candidate in Hebron

No one was injured in the incident, which is seen as a sign of mounting tensions among members of the ruling Fatah faction ahead of the election.

City of Hebron (photo credit: NOOR KHATIB)
City of Hebron
(photo credit: NOOR KHATIB)
A candidate for the upcoming Palestinian parliamentary election on Monday said unidentified gunmen opened fire at his house and car in Hebron.
Lawyer Hatem Shaheen, who is running as a candidate on al-Mustaqbal (The Future) list, said the shooting attack took place around 2:30 a.m.
The list is affiliated with exiled Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan, an archrival of Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.
Shaheen is No. 13 on the list and is considered a major supporter of Dahlan in the southern West Bank.
No one was wounded in the incident, which is seen as a sign of mounting tensions among members of the ruling Fatah faction ahead of the election, slated for May 22.
The attack was in the context of ongoing infighting among Fatah leaders and activists, sources in Hebron said.
They expressed fear that the incident could trigger a wave of violence between rival Fatah activists in the West Bank.
“We were sleeping when we heard heavy shooting outside the house,” Shaheen said. “I went out to the balcony to see what was happening, but the attackers had escaped. Later, when we watched the security cameras, we saw at least two suspects in a white car.”
Shaheen said he and other candidates on Dahlan’s al-Mustaqbal list have been the targets of a smear campaign on social-media platforms.
“The incitement against us was the reason behind the shooting attack,” he said.
Dahlan has been living in the United Arab Emirates since his expulsion from Fatah 10 years ago following a falling out with Abbas. The PA leadership has accused Dahlan of working to undermine Abbas’s rule and “conspiring” with the enemies of the Palestinians.
The PA security forces have occasionally targeted Dahlan loyalists in the West Bank by arresting them, summoning them for interrogation or denying them jobs in the public and private sectors.
Al-Mustaqbal is one of three Fatah lists contesting the election for the Palestinian Legislative Council (PLC).
Dahlan himself is not part of the list. He recently hinted that he did not rule out the possibility of running in the PA presidential election, scheduled to take place on July 31.
The other two are Fatah’s official list, headed by Mahmoud al-Aloul, and al-Hurriyya (The Freedom), an alliance between former PA foreign minister Nasser al-Kidwa and jailed Fatah leader Marwan Barghouti.
Kidwa was recently expelled from Fatah after he announced his intention to form his own electoral list for the PLC election. Barghouti is serving five life sentences for his role in terrorist attacks during the Second Intifada.
Supporters of Dahlan issued a statement in which they strongly condemned the shooting attack on the house and car of one of their candidates.
They said they would approach international forums and parties to explain the grave repercussions of the attack. They also urged the PA to immediately launch an investigation into the incident.
“The attack against Shaheen is a despicable crime that aims to sabotage the electoral process and intimidate candidates,” said Sufian Abu Zaida, a senior Fatah official from the Gaza Strip who is also affiliated with Dahlan.