Gunmen shoot at Ramallah mayor's car

City workers stage sit-in in protest over the attack, demand action by PA.

Palestinian shoot 298.88 (photo credit: )
Palestinian shoot 298.88
(photo credit: )
Unidentified gunmen fired shots at Ramallah Mayor Janet Mikhail's car while it was parked outside her office early Monday morning. They also fired at the municipality building and at the home of one of the mayor's senior aides. No one was wounded, but Mikhail's car was hit by several bullets. A group of gunmen, some of them wearing masks, approached the municipality building and opened fire with automatic rifles at the mayor's car and office, eyewitnesses told The Jerusalem Post. The gunmen fled before Palestinian Authority policemen arrived at the scene. Following the attacks, scores of municipality workers staged a sit-in strike in front of the municipality building, demanding that PA security forces take measures against the perpetrators. The workers complained that this was not the first such attack on the municipality building. Local residents also complained that their city had become a safe haven for gangs and criminals who are intimidating them and extorting wealthy families. According to the residents, some of the gangsters introduce themselves as members of various PA security forces and Fatah. In recent months several restaurants were targeted by armed gangsters demanding money and jobs. The attacks have prompted some merchants to close their businesses and leave the city. Mikhail, a Roman Catholic, is Ramallah's first woman mayor. She was chosen as mayor in December 2005 by the newly elected 15-member city council, which voted 9-6 to elect her after the three Hamas-affiliated Change and Reform council members supported her. She was headmistress of a girls school in Ramallah for 20 years before retiring. Mikhail ran in the municipal election as a political independent, although some residents believed she was affiliated with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. Her Ramallah for All list won six seats. In response to the shootings, Mikhail called on the PA to form a commission of inquiry into Ramallah's state of anarchy and lawlessness. She described the assailants as outcasts and thugs. No group claimed responsibility for the attack and the motive remained unclear.