NABLUS (Ma’an) – The main suspects responsible for the August shooting in Nablus
that left two Palestinian security officers killed and four others injured after clashes broke out in the Old City between Palestinian forces and armed locals have turned themselves in to Palestinian security over Thursday and Friday.
Nablus mayor Akram Rjoub told Ma’an on Friday that six of the suspects had turned themselves in at the offices in Ramallah, identified as Imad ad-Din Ahmad Ezz Halawa, Moayad Fathi Sabi Estita, Saif ad-Din Ahmad Ezz Halawa, Jamal Ahmad Ezz Halawa, Muhammad Tahsein Abdulmajeed al-Ghanim, and Ihab Nabeel Khaled, while three others turned themselves in at the headquarters in Nablus, according to Rjoub.
Rjoub said that the suspects were taken to Ramallah for interrogations and to undergo security procedures, adding that no deals or agreements had been struck with the nine suspects. However, he told Ma’an that all security procedures would be carried out in accordance with the law and declared the case officially closed.
The slain security officers were identified at the time of the incident as Shibli Ibrahim Abed Bani Shamseh, 27, from the village of Beita, and Mahmoud Tarayra from Bani Naim.
The two who survived their injuries were identified as Officer Naji Ahmad al-Titi, who was shot in the arm, and officer Iyad Omar Zaghloul, who was shot in the leg.
Two Palestinian civilians were also killed during the incident after Palestinian forces raided the Old City the night following the clashes. A Palestinian security official told Ma'an at the time that two armed men were killed during armed clashes when security forces attempted to arrest them. The two were initially reported as injured, and were taken to a hospital in Nablus, where they were pronounced dead.
The official added that three M16 guns were found with the armed assailants who were killed.
The ensuing manhunt for the gunmen responsible for the police shootings sparked international outrage over what the UN deemed an “extrajudicial execution” of Ahmad Izz Halaweh, the shooting's alleged mastermind, who was beaten to death in custody
, Palestinian forces also shot dead an alleged Palestinian gunman in Nablus. While Palestinian forces had claimed the men opened fire on them, forcing them to respond, others have claimed the four were unarmed at the time of the incident and were surveilling the Palestinian police while they carried out a detention raid.
Last month, a 39-year-old Palestinian woman was shot dead in Nablus
after being caught in the cross firing between suspected Palestinian gunmen and Palestinian security forces.
Amid the ongoing security crackdown, the Palestinian Authority (PA) has faced widespread criticism over the unclear circumstances in which Palestinian fugitives have been arrested and killed, with prisoners’ rights group Addameer saying that “no exceptional circumstances whatsoever, whether a state of war or a threat of war, internal political instability or any other public emergency, may be invoked as a justification of torture.”
The crackdown also comes as Palestinian political factions have repeatedly accused the Fatah-dominated PA of “escalating security collaboration” with Israeli authorities and “adopting a revolving door policy"
of funneling Palestinians from PA jails into Israeli prisons.