Brigadier-General Tariq Abu Rajab, deputy head of the Palestinian General Intelligence Service, was shot in the chest on Wednesday as he drove to his office in Gaza City, Aljazeera's correspondent quoted Palestinian security sources as saying. 

 

Medics said he was undergoing surgery. Palestinian hospital officials also said he was in stable condition and his injuries were not life-threatening.

 

Rajab was travelling in a two-vehicle convoy when shots rang out, witnesses said. One of the vehicles flipped over.

 

Two wounded

 

The attack happened near the Shatti refugee camp on the western side of the city.

Rajab's colleague have called the
attack a cowardly crime

Two other bodyguards were also wounded in the attack, one of whom is still serious, the sources added.  

 

The attack on the convoy appeared to have been carried out from inside the coastal refugee camp by three masked men who promptly fled the scene of the shooting. 
  

Traces of blood could be seen inside the car which had been
carrying Abu Rajab while another vehicle had been riddled with bullets. 

 

Condemnation
  
The head of preventive security, General Rashid Abu Shabak,
denounced the "cowardly crime" as he visited his colleague in
hospital and promised that the perpetrators "will not escape
punishment". 
   

"The Palestinian Authority must take firm measures to put an end to this deteriorating security situation to which no Palestinian official is now immune"

General Rashid Abu Shabak,
head of preventive security,
Palestinian Authority

"The Palestinian Authority must take firm measures to put an end to this deteriorating security situation to which no Palestinian official is now immune," he added.

 

There was no immediate claim of responsibility.


Rajab has been at the helm of the intelligence services since previous chief Amin al-Hindi resigned in July after a series of kidnappings in the Israeli-occupied territory.

An old ally of Palestinian leader Yasir Arafat, he keeps a low public profile. Most recently, he had been in charge of security for Palestinian diplomatic missions abroad, officials said.

 

The Gaza Strip has seen a wave of internal violence in recent months as various groups vie for power before a planned Israeli pullout next year.