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Gunmen kill children of Hamas critic
by UK Guardian (reposted)
Monday Dec 11th, 2006 7:06 AM
Three children of a leading Hamas critic were killed in a drive-by shooting today, raising fears of an escalation in Palestinian infighting.
Palestinian gunmen in two vehicles fired up to 60 bullets into the car of Baha Balousheh, a senior intelligence officer loyal to the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, as it passed through a street crowded with schoolchildren in Gaza City.

Security officials said they believed Mr Balousheh, who was not in the car, had been the target of an assassination attempt, noting that the car had blacked-out windows which blocked any view of passengers. The seats, school bags and a plastic bag with a sandwich in it were splattered with blood.

Three of Mr Balousheh's children, aged between six and 10, and an adult passerby were killed, hospital officials said. Another four people were wounded in the shooting in Palestine Street, which is lined with nine schools. Children dropped to the ground or fled screaming during the attack.

Mr Balousheh, a lead interrogator during a crackdown on Hamas, is considered one of the main enemies of the ruling Islamic movement.

At midday, thousands of angry Fatah supporters joined a mass funeral procession for the children that snaked through the city streets. Hundreds of Fatah security officers were in the crowd, firing their rifles in the air.

Mr Balousheh arrived surrounded by bodyguards, wiping his eyes as he fought back tears. Two of his dead sons, still wearing their school uniforms, were carried in the arms of family members. One of the boys had 10 bullet holes in his head, it was reported.

by BBC (reposted)
Monday Dec 11th, 2006 7:06 AM
Gunmen in Gaza City have shot dead the three sons of an intelligence chief linked to the Palestinian party Fatah.

One adult was also killed in the attack which took place in a street crowded with children on their way to school.

The boys' father was named as Baha Balousheh, who led a crackdown on the now-ruling Hamas movement 10 years ago.

The BBC's Alan Johnston in Gaza says the motive is unclear but Mr Balousheh's position means he would have made many enemies.

Tensions between Fatah and the Hamas government have frequently led to gun battles in the streets of Gaza that have killed dozens of people.

The attack came a day after gunmen shot at Interior Minister Saeed Seyam's convoy in Gaza. Mr Seyam, who is a senior Hamas leader, was unharmed in that incident.


The attack happened as children were arriving at nine schools which line Palestine Street in Gaza City's central Rimal district.

The gunmen fired more than 70 bullets at the vehicle in which Mr Balousheh's children, aged between six and 10, were travelling. At least two other children were hurt.

by UK Independent (reposted)
Monday Dec 11th, 2006 7:07 AM

Palestinian gunmen killed three young children of a senior Palestinian intelligence officer today in a drive-by shooting in a street crowded with hundreds of school children, an unprecedented attack that could ignite widespread factional fighting.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.

In the attack, the gunmen pumped dozens of bullets into a car carrying the children of intelligence officer Baha Balousheh, a loyalist of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas' Fatah movement. A decade ago, Balousheh was a lead interrogator in a crackdown on the now-ruling Islamic militant Hamas movement.

Three of Balousheh's children, ranging in age from six to 10, were killed, in addition to an adult, hospital officials said. Four more people were wounded in the attack in Palestine Street, lined with nine schools. Baha Balousheh was not in the area.

The car was riddled with at least 30 bullets. Its seats, school bags and a small plastic bag with a sandwich in it were spattered with blood.

Dozens of Fatah supporters tried to close the school street, shouting: "God help us take revenge against the killers."

During the attack, children dropped to the ground or fled, screaming.

"I was walking with my young brother, Wael, who is 9, and we just crossed the street in order to take him to the school when shooting took place," said 12-year-old Fadwa Nabulsi, still shaken by the bloody scene.