Militant fires on Palestinian minister's empty car

The leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades opened fire on Tuesday on the empty car of Palestinian Interior Minister Nasr Yussef in the West Bank stronghold of Jenin, witnesses said.

Zakaria Zubeidi, accompanied by gunmen from the militant group loosely affiliated to the mainstream Fatah, scarred Yussef’s parked car with bullets at the Palestinian security services headquarters in Jenin.

Yussef was reviewing security forces at the time and was unhurt, but a Palestinian police officer was wounded by the gunfire and taken to hospital.

Wanted by Israel for years, Zubeidi has an immense popular base in Jenin and its refugee camp, a bastion of the Palestinian uprising.

Members of his entourage said Zubeidi had fired on Yussef’s car to vent his anger over the minister’s visit the cemetery in the Jenin refugee camp without coordinating with him.

The rebel chief and his henchmen left the security compound firing into the air after the shooting.

A Palestinian security source said Yussef was in Jenin to oversee the arrest of militants from Islamic Jihad suspected of involvement in last weekend’s Tel Aviv suicide bombing that killed five Israelis.

Blacklisted by the late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat, Yussef was appointed to the new Cabinet that was invested by the Palestinian Parliament at the end of last month.

The post-Arafat Palestinian administration has pledged to crack down on the chaos and reigning insecurity in the Palestinian territories.—Sapa-AFP

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