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Palestinians free Jenin ex-militant Zubeidi on bail

Former chief of Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades is released on bail by Palestinian security forces, still faces charges of taking part in shooting attack on city's governor

AFP , Tuesday 2 Oct 2012
Zakaria Zubeidi in Jenin, 2008 (Photo: AFP)
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Views: 676

Zakaria Zubeidi, the former head of the Al-Aqsa Martyr Brigades militant group, told AFP on Tuesday he had been released on bail by the Palestinian security forces.

But Zubeidi, who was arrested in the northern West Bank city of Jenin in May, said he still faces charges of taking part in a shooting attack on the residence of Jenin governor Qaddura Musa.

Musa died after suffering a heart attack during the incident, and Palestinian security forces arrested dozens of people, including Zubeidi, shortly afterwards.

Zubeidi, 33 said he was now facing charges of participating in the attack, which he denied, as well as holding a weapon used in the shooting.

"The charges against me include the possession of weapons and shooting against the house of the governor of Jenin, despite the arrest of the two men who opened fire at the house," he said.

"One of these men, an officer of the Palestinian Authority, asked me to keep his weapon," he said, adding that he had no idea it had been used in the incident.

Jenin MP Shami al-Shami said Zubeidi and several other detainees released on Monday evening were innocent of the Musa attack.

"The people freed have nothing to do with the incident of shooting against the former governor of Jenin or the murders in the area," he told AFP, saying they were "only being pursued for holding weapons."

A statement from Jenin's Freedom Theatre, which Zubeidi helped found, said that he would appear in court on 7 October.

Security in Jenin has deteriorated in recent months, with unknown gunmen carrying out several attacks targeting official figures.

The city was once presented as a success story, where the efforts of US-trained Palestinian security forces had turned around a formerly lawless, weapons-ridden town.

But in April 2011, the Freedom Theatre's well-known Israeli-Palestinian director Juliano Mer-Khamis was gunned down in Jenin's refugee camp, in an attack that remains unsolved.

In May, Musa's house was targeted, apparently by a family angered by authorities' refusal to investigate their son's death in police custody.

In July, Shami was shot at by unknown assailants, and last month, the deputy commander of the preventative security services in Jenin, Hisham Rokh, was shot dead as drove home.

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