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'High-profile' PA security officer shot dead by unidentified gunmen

Feb. 24, 2016 5:40 P.M. (Updated: Feb. 24, 2016 7:47 P.M.)
JENIN (Ma’an) -- Unidentified gunmen shot dead a "high-profile" Palestinian security officer on Wednesday in the northern occupied West Bank town of Silat al-Harithiya in the Jenin district, a Palestinian police spokesperson said.

Luay Irzeiqat said the officer was evacuated to the hospital but died of his wounds shortly after.

Irzeiqat identified the officer as Ayman Jaradat, a brigadier general in the Palestinian National Security forces and a leader in the Black Panthers, a military offshoot of Fatah.

The spokesperson said "a large number" of Palestinian police are in the Silat al-Harithiya area investigating the incident.

A spokesman for Jenin's PLO office, Ali Zakarna, confirmed that Jaradat had been shot by an unidentified assailant.

Zakarna said the slain officer was a former prisoner of Israel sentenced to life in prison, but was released as part of the 2011 Gilad Shalit deal.

Zakarna highlighted that the Fatah movement in Jenin released a statement denouncing the murder of Jaradat and declared that "it will be lawful to kill the murderer."

The Palestinian Prisoners' Society also denounced the murder of Jaradat, and urged the Palestinian Authority to take serious procedures against the killer so as to "prevent repetitions of such a crime."

Fatah's statement highlighted that Jaradat may have been killed because he was accused of involvement in the killing of a "suspected collaborator with the Israeli occupation."

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