Released Prisoner Attempts Assassination

It took Mahmoud Hatib, a 21-year-old member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, about a month since his release from Israeli prison to attempt an assassination on the Palestinian Prime Minister. And, no one tried to stop him!

A Palestinian gunman opened fire for two minutes Wednesday with an M-16 automatic rifle on a sports club in Balata near the West Bank town of Nablus where Ahmad Qurei, the Palestinian prime minister, was holding a meeting. As Qurei was beating a hasty retreat in his official car, an explosion was heard about 300 meters away. The prime minister had come to appeal for a return to law and order.

The gunman, Mahmoud Hatib, a 21-year-old member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, affiliated with the mainstream al-Fatah movement, was recently released from an Israeli jail.

Witnesses said that the dozens of Palestinian security men guarding Qurei made no attempt to arrest him. Camp residents hailed him as a hero. Taysir Nasrallah, a member of the Palestine National Council who was present at the meeting, protested: “The government has an army. Why aren’t they using it? They have to show that they are willing to restore order.”

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