Palestinian said killed in clash between PA police and gunmen north of Jerusalem

Unidentified gunmen fire on police station in drive-by in the town of al-Ram

File: Palestinian security forces in Hebron, November 14, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)
File: Palestinian security forces in Hebron, November 14, 2017. (Wisam Hashlamoun/Flash90)

Gunmen opened fire on a Palestinian Authority police station north of Jerusalem on Sunday, leading to the death of a Palestinian man, a security official said.

“Unidentified individuals opened fire on the al-Ram police station while traveling in a car,” PA police spokesman Louay Arzeikat said in comments published on the official PA news site Wafa, adding that members of the security forces “responded,” without giving details.

Some social media reports said an “armed clash” occurred between the PA police and gunmen.

Al-Ram is a Palestinian town located north of Jerusalem, adjacent to the Qalandia checkpoint. In videos shared on Twitter on Sunday, what appeared to be gunfire could be heard in al-Ram.

The PA police spokesman said the incident led to the death of a Palestinian, whom he did not name; he did not clarify who shot him, or say if he was involved in the clash or a bystander.

The dead man was later identified as 25-year-old Iyad Barjes of al-Judeira, a village near al-Ram.

Arzeikat also said many members of the PA security forces went to al-Ram following the incident “to preserve security” and added that PA police were investigating the incident.

Under the Oslo Accords peace agreement between Israel and the Palestinian Authority, al-Ram was classified as a part of Area B of the West Bank, which meant Israel and the PA would both be responsible for security in the town.

But following the signing of the agreements in the 1990s, Israel only allowed unarmed, civilian-clad PA police officers to maintain a presence in the central parts of al-Ram and neglected criminal activity in the town, making it a safe haven for drug and weapons traffickers.

Since April 2015, however, Israel has allowed the PA to deploy armed and uniformed police officers in al-Ram. But PA security officials have complained that Israel does not permit its members to carry enough weapons and ammunition in the town.

A high-ranking official in the PA security forces said in an interview with the Jerusalem Post in late 2017 that Israel only permits PA police officers in al-Ram to maintain a maximum of five hand guns, five kalashnikovs and 650 bullets.

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