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.
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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.”