Monday, August 07, 2006

Poisoned package sent to Haniyeh


At least four Palestinian clerks hospitalized after opening package thought to contain dangerous substance. Package arrived at office of Haniyeh's deputy in Ramallah. Haniyeh himself doesn't go to West Bank and there are disagreements in PA if Israel had any connection to event, or if it is connected to internal conflict

Ali Waked

At least four Palestinian clerks working in the Palestinian Prime Minister's Office in Ramallah, lost consciousness Monday after opening a package thought to contain a poisonous substance. The package arrived at the Palestinian government building in Ramallah, sent to the office of Nasser al-Din Shaer, Ismail Haniyeh's deputy prime minister. Sources in the office said that the package was sent from an address in Tel Aviv. They refused to pass on details about the address.

One of the clerks opened the package, which emanated a strange smell, and passed out. After, at least another three clerks felt unwell and lost consciousness. According to some reports, seven clerks have been hospitalized following the incident.

Immediately after the package was opened and the employees injured, most of the people working in the Prime Minister's Office were evacuated and security began combing the building for additional dangerous substances or bombs potentially hidden in the building.

After the clerks lost consciousness, panic gripped the employees working in the office. This is due to the fact that Shaer himself is practically the only Hamas leader in the West Bank that wasn't arrested in the wave of recent arrests made by the IDF and the Shin Bet. Shaer said that the poisonous package was an Israeli attempt to hurt the Palestinian prime minister and his deputy, noting that the package was addressed to Haniyeh.

However, it must be mentioned that Prime Minister Haniyeh does not usually come to Ramallah, and hasn't been in the city at all since his appointment to the position out of fear that Israel will hurt, or arrest him. Shaer added that the office intends to open an investigation of the issue.

In Ramallah, opinions about the source of the package were divided – some said that there is no doubt that it was an Israeli attempt to hurt Shaer, and yet others said that the option must be checked that it may have been connected to the conflict and power struggles between the Palestinian ministers from Hamas, and the clerks in their offices, most of whom were appointed by Fatah.

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