Middle East

Arab Israeli actor Juliano Mer Khamis killed in Jenin

Juliano Mer Khamis (archive image from 2004)
Image caption Mr Mer Khamis starred in several acclaimed films

A well-known Arab Israeli actor, Juliano Mer Khamis, has died after being shot in an attack in Jenin's refugee camp.

Mr Mer Khamis, aged 52, was killed when his car was fired upon. He was hit by at least five bullets.

The son of a Jewish Israeli mother and a Palestinian Christian father, he was known for both acting and activism.

A Palestinian ambulance took his body to a nearby checkpoint to be transferred into Israel.

"He was shot by a masked gunman who fired five bullets into the window of his car," Jenin governor Qadura Musa told the AFP news agency.

"We have not arrested anyone yet, but we have formed a crisis group from all the Palestinian security forces to investigate this crime and we hope to have some results within the coming hours," Mr Musa said, adding that he was not aware of any threat against the actor.

At the same time, witnesses in the camp told AFP that they saw two masked gunmen open fire on Mr Mer Khamis's car before speeding away.

There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack.

Image caption There was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attack

Freedom Theatre

Mr Mer Khamis's Arab-Israeli parentage was a rarity in a land where the two populations almost never intermarry.

In 2006, he set up The Freedom Theatre, a drama and community centre based in the Jenin camp, where his mother had earlier worked as a peace activist running a similar project.

Although Mr Khamis' project took off, its attempts to reach out to local young people were sometimes treated with suspicion - and it had been threatened and vandalised, the BBC's Yolande Knell in Jerusalem reports.

Mr Mer Khamis was no stranger to controversy, our correspondent adds.

Born in Nazareth, northern Israel, he made his name as an actor appearing in the 1984 US thriller The Little Drummer Girl and went on to star in several acclaimed Israeli films.

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