PA Arrests Former Top Militant After Attack on Palestinian Official's Home

Zakaria Zubeidi, who Israel again listed as 'wanted' as of late 2011, is considered to be one of the most powerful people in Jenin's refugee camp.

Palestinian Authority forces arrested former top militant Zakaria Zubeidi on Sunday, over his suspected link to a recent attack on the house of a top PA official.

Earlier this month Jenin District Governor Kadura Musa died of a heart attack, shortly after armed attackers opened fire on his home.

A number of assailants took positions outside Musa's home, before opening fire. The governor's bodyguards returned fire, and Musa himself came out of his house and fired a number of shots into the air.

Later on, after complaining that he felt ill, he was taken to the hospital, where he died.

On Sunday, Palestinian sources indicated that PA forces arrested Zubeidi, the former commander of Jenin's branch of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, over suspicions he had links the attack.

It was the second time the former top militant was detained by PA security in a little over a week.

Zubeidi is considered to be one of the most powerful people in the city’s refugee camp, and lately there have been signs of tension between him and the Palestinian Authority. Fatah's secretary general in Jenin, Ita Abu Ramila, extradited Zubeidi into Palestinian Authority security forces custody.

Zubeidi, who was granted amnesty by Israel nearly two and a half years ago, had has status changed to “wanted” once again in late 2011.

Then, Palestinian security forces informed Zubeidi that due to Israeli requests, he was required to remain held at a security forces compound or else Israel would find and arrest him. Nearly a week later, his “wanted” status was removed.

In the summer of 2007, an agreement was reached between the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade and Israel, in which 178 Brigade activists desisted from all terrorist activities and turned their weapons into the Palestinian Authority in exchange for amnesty. As part of the agreement, Zubeidi received amnesty as well. Then, Zubeidi claimed that Brigade members committed to cease attacking Israel and joined the Palestinian Authority security forces before he received any guarantees that Israel would not act against them.

Daniel Bar-On