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Palestinian police arrest 1, concluding deadly manhunt for Nablus shooters

Aug. 26, 2016 11:14 A.M. (Updated: Aug. 28, 2016 8:35 P.M.)
NABLUS (Ma'an) -- Palestinian security services said they arrested a man overnight Thursday wanted for involvement in an Aug. 18 shooting which left two Palestinian policemen killed, concluding a widespread manhunt for multiple gunmen in the northern occupied West Bank city of Nablus.

The shooting launched a massive security crackdown in Nablus’ Old City, during which three suspects were killed by security forces -- one of whom was beaten to death in prison after his arrest -- in what the UN and Palestinian factions branded “extrajudicial executions.”

In a statement on his Facebook page, spokesperson for the Palestinian security services Adnan Dmeiri identified the suspect arrested overnight as Salah al-Kurdi, saying that all those wanted over the shooting had now been apprehended.

After two Palestinian policemen were fatally shot and two others injured by locals during clashes in the Old City of Nablus, the following day, Palestinian policemen shot and killed two suspects during an arrest campaign to apprehend the shooters.

Last Sunday, three further suspects were apprehended in Nablus, two of which were identified by Dmeiri as Wail Hani Halaweh and Ali Halaweh, with Dmeiri saying at the time six further suspects for the shooting were being pursued.

On Tuesday, Palestinian security forces arrested the suspected “mastermind” behind the shooting, Ahmad Izz Halaweh, a senior member of the armed wing of the Fatah movement the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigadestook him into custody and beat him to death.

Dmeiri added in his statement Friday morning that “security forces had previously arrested Sabri al-Kurdi, Samih al-Kurdi, Salih al-Kurdi, and Jadallah Jadallah, who were accomplices in the crime and had admitted to committing the crime.”

Dmeiri seemed to refer to those arrested Tuesday when Palestinians police entered Area C of the occupied West Bank district of Jerusalem, in a highly unusual move to carry out arrests without coordinating with the Israeli army in an area officially under full Israeli military control.

The deadly manhunt came amid an already large-scale campaign by Palestinian security forces to arrest Palestinians engaged in criminal activity and seize weaponry in the occupied West Bank.

Palestinian authorities have characterized the campaign as a crackdown on "criminals," fugitives," and "gangsters," saying that the wanted Palestinians "never pointed a gun at the (Israeli occupation)."

Following the deaths of the three suspects in the case -- particularly the savage beating of Ahmad Halaweh -- Palestinian political factions and the United Nations came forward to denounce the apparent “extrajudicial executions.”

The Hamas movement said the “field execution” of Halaweh marked a troubling development in the Palestinian Authority’s security collaboration with Israel, as Israeli forces have been conducting a parallel campaign across the occupied West Bank to detain weapons manufacturers and seize weapons.

The EU missions in Jerusalem and Ramallah also released a statement in reacting to Halaweh's killing on Friday morning, saying they were "gravely concerned."

"The incident raises serious concerns over respect for fundamental human rights by the Palestinian security forces in the context of the arrest, detention, and questioning of suspects, as well as the implementation of the UN Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials."
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