Three young children of a senior Palestinian intelligence officer were killed today in a drive-by shooting in a street crowded with hundreds of schoolchildren, an unprecedented attack that could ignite widespread factional fighting.
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 6 to 10, were killed, in addition to their driver, 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.
Attack targets American workers
Assailants hurled a bomb and fired at two vehicles carrying employees of an affiliate of U.S. company Halliburton near Algiers on Sunday, killing one Algerian driver, witnesses said.
The extent of casualties in the attack was not immediately clear.
Nine American employees of Brown & Root-Condor were heading from their offices to a Sheraton Hotel where they are housed in Bouchaoui, nine miles west of Algiers, when they were attacked. BRC is a joint venture of the Halliburton subsidiary KBR Inc., formerly known as Kellogg, Brown & Root, and Condor Engineering SPA. It has contracts in Algeria’s oil and defense industries.
The Americans were in a bus behind a security vehicle carrying two Algerians. The assailants hurled a bomb at the first vehicle, immediately killing the driver and injuring the passenger, the witnesses said.
Attackers then opened fire on the second bus, which quickly turned around and headed back to the BRC offices before the gunmen dispersed.
30 civilians killed in ambush
Militiamen on horseback ambushed a refugee convoy in Sudan’s western Darfur region, killing about 30 civilians, the United Nations and aid workers said Sunday, and African Union peacekeepers called to investigate were briefly taken hostage by other refugees.
Aid workers in El Geneina, the capital of West Darfur, and the U.N. said the militiamen belonged to the pro-government janjaweed and ambushed the truck Saturday outside Sirba on a road near the border with Chad.
“Some of the passengers were shot by the attackers and others were burnt to death,” a U.N. statement said.
The governor of West Darfur denied the attack was carried out by janjaweed, blaming anti-government rebels.
More than 200,000 people have been killed and 2.5 million have been forced from their homes since ethnic African rebels rose up against Sudan’s Arab-dominated government in early 2003.