Abu Dhabi, UAEWednesday 28 October 2020

Violence erupts in Ramallah after the death of Palestinian official's kin in personal feud

Angry relatives run amok firing at government buildings and security office following the gun battle

A Palestinian flag is draped over a metal barrier at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah. AFP 
A Palestinian flag is draped over a metal barrier at a checkpoint near the West Bank city of Ramallah. AFP 

Relatives of a top Palestinian official unleashed violence on the streets of Ramallah late on Wednesday, firing into the air and at government buildings after a family member was killed in a personal quarrel with a Palestinian security officer, security officials said.

Hospital officials confirmed the death of Khalil Al Sheikh in a gun battle that erupted after his nephew quarrelled with the security officer. Al Sheikh had arrived at the scene with a group of gunmen to help defend his nephew.

Al Sheikh was the brother of Hussein Al Sheikh, one of the most powerful men in the West Bank. Hussein Al Sheikh is a senior Cabinet minister and close adviser of the Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas. He is also among the few Palestinian leaders to maintain good relations with Israeli political and security officials.

After Khalil Al Sheikh’s death, family members marched through Ramallah, shooting at government buildings and at the headquarters of the Preventive Security, the security force that employed the suspected killer, security officials said. The sound of automatic gunfire could be heard throughout the city.

A security official, speaking on condition of anonymity, said the alleged killer was still at large.

The West Bank has experienced a surge in violence in recent months, including clashes between rival clans and villages. Incidents of domestic violence have also increased.

The violence appears to have been fuelled by a deep economic crisis caused by months of government restrictions to control the spread of the coronavirus. Social media have been filled with calls for the Palestinian Authority to crack down on the violence and confiscate illegal weapons that have flooded the territory.

Updated: August 6, 2020 09:35 AM

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