Gunfire and explosions aimed at Palestinian PM on West Bank visit
Gunmen say angry at PA corruption; explosive devise detonated as Ahmed Qureia left Balata refugee camp.
Palestinian militants shot at a building in the Balata refugee camp in the West Bank, where Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia was speaking on Wednesday. An explosive device was also detonated as he and his entourage were leaving the Balata refugee camp. Qureia was not injured.
The incident began Wednesday morning as Qureia spoke to militants inside a sports club near the northern West Bank city of Nablus.
Gunmen inside the building fired in the air, at a distance of more than 100 meters from the prime minister, witnesses said.
Others who were outside fired shots at the building, but the bullets didn't penetrate the wall, they said.
Later, as Qureia and his entourage, including several cabinet ministers, left the building, a new volley of gunfire erupted and an explosive device was detonated about 300 meters away. None of the officials were injured.
Balata is a hotbed of militant activity, and many in the camp oppose Palestinian officials' efforts to marginalize them. They also resent reports of corruption among high-level Palestinian officials.
Mahmoud al-Khatib, who said he fired at the building, said he acted out of anger and frustration at how officials treated his father, who was jailed by Israel 21 years.
"When my dad came out of jail, the Palestinian Authority didn't help him with anything," he said. "Officials live in luxury and we, the ones who gave so much to Palestine, have gotten nothing."
"I reached a point where I'm willing to kill so I can take back my rights, my father's rights, and the rights of all those like us," he said.
After the gunfire and explosion, Qureia continued with his planned itinerary and toured another refugee camp nearby.