04/06/2011 12:21 pm ET | Updated Jun 05, 2011

Juliano Mer-Khamis Dead: 'Miral' Actor Shot And Killed In West Bank

Juliano Mer-Khamis, a well-known director, activist, and star of Julian Schnabel's new film, "Miral," was shot and killed on Monday in the West Bank city of Jenin.

The Jerusalem Post reported that a masked assailant approached Mer-Khamis outside the entrance to the controversial Freedom Theater, a collective Mer-Khamis founded himself, and shot him five times at close range.

Mer-Khamis was raised by a Jewish Israeli mother, Arna Mer, and a Palestinian Christian father, Saliba Khamis, one of the former heads of the Israeli Communist Party in the 1950s. Straddling a complicated political line for his entire career, Mer-Khamis always focused on controversial work.

Palestinian Authority officials have made several arrests, but no group has claimed responsibility for the shooting. One of those arrests is a prominent Hamas operative.

Mer-Khamis's first film was The Little Drummer Girl, a 1984 adaptation of a John Le Carre thriller about the Israeli- Palestinian conflict. He also appeared in many films from leading Israeli filmmakers over the years.

Mer-Khamis is survived by his wife, who is pregnant with twins, a daughter and a son, who was reportedly also with him at the time of the shooting.

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