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Daily Israel Report

Jenin Terrorist Charged in Theater Director's Murder

PA police have charged an al-Aqsa terrorist with the murder of Jenin theater director and actor Juliano Mer-Khamis.
By Chana Ya'ar
First Publish: 4/7/2011, 2:38 PM / Last Update: 4/8/2011, 12:46 AM

Palestinian Authority police have charged a former member of the Fatah-linked al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades terrorist organization with the murder of actor and producer Juliano Mer-Khamis.

Mer-Khamis, who directed The Freedom Theater in Jenin, was shot to death Monday in the PA-controlled Arab city.

Mujahed Qaniri of Jenin, a man in his 30s, was arrested by local police just a few hours after the murder. Qaniri spent five years in an Israeli jail. According to a source quoted by the AFP news agency, he eventually joined Hamas -- although a second source said he operated as an "independent" and had spent another five years in a PA jail for supplying weapons to Hamas terrorists.

Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri denied any connection between Qaniri and the Gaza-based terrorist organization.

The actor, born of a Jewish mother and a Christian Arab father who were both Israeli citizens and lived in Nazareth, was shot while driving home, according to Jenin police quoted by AFP. The actor's baby son and babysitter, Raida, were in the car at the time.

Raida told police she saw the face of the killer before he opened fire. The murderer then put on a mask before fleeing the scene, but Raida subsequently identified him in three different police lineups.

Mer-Khamis was buried Wednesday at Kibbutz Ramot Menashe in northern Israel, next to the grave of his mother Orna.