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Former Palestinian military prosecutor shot dead in West Bank home

Violent crime in Palestinian areas of the West Bank has been spiking in recent months, with police citing a 40% uptick in offenses

Ekrima Muhanna, an official in the Palestinian Authority security services, shot dead by unknown gunmen on Friday, July 23, 2021 (WAFA)
Ekrima Muhanna, an official in the Palestinian Authority security services, shot dead by unknown gunmen on Friday, July 23, 2021 (WAFA)

A senior Palestinian Authority security official was shot and killed in his home on Friday, with a suspect later detained by PA forces.

The victim, Ekrima Muhanna, formerly served as the PA’s chief military prosecutor. Before his death, Muhanna was working as the legal adviser to the security services’ finance office, which handles the many-pronged apparatus’s salaries and procurements.

“Preliminary information indicates that unknown gunmen fired upon him inside his house in Deir Ghusun near Tulkarem, which led to his death, and they immediately fled the scene,” Maj. Gen. Talal Dweikat, a spokesperson for the PA security forces, said in a statement to the official WAFA news agency.

Tulkarem governor Essam Abu Bakr, himself a former interior minister, urged Palestinians to wait for the investigation before drawing conclusions.

Abu Bakr speculated, nonetheless, that Muhanna was killed for reasons other than his work, pointing to the fact that the murder took place inside his home.

“What happened to him was not connected to his work. The incident was clearly personally motivated,” Abu Bakr said in a phone call.

The Palestinian city Tulkarem, situated on the western edge of northern West Bank, on July 18, 2018. Photo by Gili Yaari/Flash90

Abu Bakr later told Palestinian media that the security forces had apprehended a suspect after investigating the scene.

The West Bank has seen increasing violence over the past year, with crime increasing by around 40 percent compared to last year, according to official figures.

Palestinian Authority police spokesperson Louay Irzeqiat said last week that all kinds of violence — homicides, violent crime, domestic violence and assaults — had spiked compared to 2020.

As of mid-July, some 22 Palestinians had been violently killed so far this year, compared to 13 last July, Irzeiqat said — a 69 percent increase. Since then, another two Palestinians, including Muhanna, have died in suspected homicides.

Abu Bakr, however, said that matters were under control in his governorate.

“We don’t have a security vacuum in our governorate. The situation is under control. We don’t have a situation where suspects known to be criminals are roaming free — that’s simply not the case,” he said.

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