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Palestinian TV Chief Killed By Masked GunmenAired January 17, 2001 - 8:01 a.m. ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
CAROL LIN, CNN ANCHOR: We begin this morning with breaking news, this time out of the Middle East, where two gunmen opened fire in a hotel restaurant in Gaza, killing the director of television of Palestinian TV.
CNN's Jerrold Kessel is standing by in Jerusalem with more details on this violent attack -- Jerrold.
JERROLD KESSEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Carol, we can confirm that the director of Palestinian TV, Hisham Miki -- 54-year old Hisham Miki, who was close to Yasser Arafat, a member of Mr. Arafat's Fatah movement, has been shot and killed in a Gaza seaside hotel just within the last hour. And Palestinian police and now hospital sources at the Sheefah (ph) Hospital, to which he was rushed immediately after the shooting, have confirmed that he was killed.
According to sources in the hotel and in the Palestinian Police, two masked men burst into the hotel where Mr. Miki was apparently meeting friends at the beach hotel on the Gaza's beach side and shot him, two shots -- two bullets in the chest, one in the head. He was rushed to Sheefah Hospital, but he was pronounced dead there.
Now, it's not immediately clear whether the assailants, whom, as I say, were masked men, had political or personal motives in this killing, but this is certainly a shock. Mr. Miki known to be close to Yasser Arafat and has served as the director of Palestinian Television since 1994 when it was founded, and also founded the Palestinian Satellite Channel. And certainly a major event in Gaza. Whether it is for personal or political motives not yet known.
But the director of Palestinian Television, Hisham Miki, a man close to Palestinian Authority President Yasser Arafat, assassinated in a Gaza hotel within the last hour -- Carol.
LIN: So Jerrold, who would be the likely suspects then?
KESSEL: Well, it is too difficult and too early to pronounce any kind of judgment or any kind of direction. There have been in this ongoing Israeli-Palestinian confrontation over the last several months and in the last several weeks -- Israel has pinpointed specific targets. But there's no indication at all that that might be. There have been cases in the last -- claims that Mr. Miki had been involved in some kind of corruption and that this matter was settled, however. And no direction in either way, whether it was for political or personal motives. All we know at this stage is that two men who were masked burst into the hotel and shot him dead. But certainly the significance for whatever motive on the political level is -- it could be great.
LIN: Jerrold Kessel, reporting live from CNN's Jerusalem bureau. And watch for live updates on this breaking story out of the Middle East throughout the morning.
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