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MADA condemns 'assassination' attempt of critical Palestinian MP

Sept. 4, 2014 10:00 P.M. (Updated: Sept. 6, 2014 1:24 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A media watchdog on Thursday condemned what it called an "assassination attempt" in the West Bank earlier in the day against a Palestinian member of parliament known to be a government critic, calling it a "serious violation of freedom of expression."

The Palestinian Center for Development and Media Freedoms said in a statement that it was "gravely concerned" by the attack on Palestinian MP Hasan Khraisha, whose car was shot at with live bullets as he was driving from his home in Tulkarem Thursday morning.

MADA said that Khraisha was well known for his opposition to the policies of the Palestinian Authority, and quoted the lawmaker -- who was not injured in the attack -- as saying: "This was a direct attempt to assassinate me, not just a threat to silence me."

Khraisha was also quoted as telling MADA that the likely cause of the attack was for speaking his mind, adding: "It seems that my straightforwardness has angered some politicians."

Khraisha, who is also the second deputy speaker of the parliament, said that he had not received any warnings prior to the attack or in recent years, and MADA said the assailants were still unknown.

The attack occurred just before 9 a.m. near the residence of Palestinian Prime Minister Rami Hamdallah, but MADA quoted Khraisha as saying that the security guards told him they had heard the gunfire but not seen the shooter.

MADA said the attack was the second such targeting in recent weeks, noting that Abdulasattar Qasem -- an al-Najah University professor of political science also known as a critic of the Palestinian Authority, was shot with live bullets near his home in Nablus on Aug. 5.

The shooting occurred only six days after he was punched and threatened by a man during a live TV interview, the group added.

The Palestinian Authority in the West Bank has been historically dominated by the Fatah party.
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