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Palestinian Security Official Wounded as Legislature Considers Reforms - 2004-08-25

A senior Palestinian security official was wounded and his bodyguard killed in a Gaza City shooting on Wednesday. The attack comes as the Palestinian Legislature Council meets to debate reforms in the Palestinian Authority, including the security apparatus.

The attack occurred when a convoy carrying the Palestinian Authority's deputy chief of intelligence was traveling through the northern part of Gaza City. Tareq Abu Rajab suffered gunshot wounds to the chest. His condition is not considered life threatening. Four of his bodyguards were also hit by the gunfire. One of them died of his injuries.

No one has claimed responsibility for the shooting attack which witnesses said was carried out by masked men.

Mr. Abu Rajab, who maintains a very low public profile, has close ties to Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. Before taking up his current post he was in charge of security for Palestinian diplomatic missions overseas.

The Gaza Strip has been going through a wave of violence over the past month. The unrest comes as various factions are fighting to establish their positions in anticipation of the power vacuum that is expected once Israel withdraws its forces from Gaza by the end of 2005.

Later Wednesday, the Palestinian Legislative Council meets in special session to consider a committee report on proposed reforms within the Palestinian Authority. The report caused a furor when it was made public earlier this month. It was extremely critical of what it termed the corruption and mismanagement by the Palestinian leadership including Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat. It called for a near total overhaul of the Authority, especially the security apparatus. Mr. Arafat responded to the report by publicly acknowledging the mistakes and shortcomings of the Palestinian leadership including himself.