Palestine headed for civil war?

Israel is continuing “targetted assassinations” in supposedly unoccupied Gaza. But internecine Palestinian violence, alas, now seems equally efficient in killing off the Palestinian leadership.

An Israeli missile strike on a car in Gaza City May 20 killed a top Islamic Jihad commander, Mohammed Dahdouh. A Palestinian woman, Hanan Aman, her 4-year-old son Mohanad and a female relative Naima Aman were also killed in the attack, and three others wounded. (Al-Bawaba, May 20)

Earlier in Gaza City, an explosion ripped through the headquarters of the Palestinian Intelligence Service, killing one person and wounding at least eight others, including intelligence chief General Tareq Abu Rajab, who was hospitalized and is believed to be the target of the attack. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Palestinian intelligence officials indicated that Hamas, which now controls the Palestinian parliament, was responsible. (VOA, May 20)

After the attack, Palestinian gunmen broke into the Ramallah parliament compound to protest the apparent assassination attempt. Members of the Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of Palestinian Authority President Mahmud Abbas’ Fatah movement, entered the parking lot inside the compound, firing shots in the air. (Mediafax, May 20)

Meanwhile, rival Palestinian forces are facing off at Gaza’s border crossing with Egypt after a Hamas official was caught with 639,000 euros hidden in his clothing. Some 100 gunmen from the new Hamas-led secuirty force raced to the Rafah crossing where Hamas spokesman Sami Abu Zuhri was caught with the money. Rafah is guarded by Abbas’ presidential guard, raising fears of new Palestinian infighting days after clashes in Gaza.

Hamas said Abu Zuhri was carrying Arab donations for the new government, which is desperately short of funds, and for Palestinians in Israeli jails.

Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh vowed during Friday prayers yesterday not to disband a new Hamas-led security force and said he was prepared to increase its size in defiance of President Abbas and the Bush administration. (Australia Sunday Times, May 21)

Rival security forces loyal to Hamas and Fatah agreed to end a spate of armed clashes at an emergency meeting in Gaza City May 10. The fighting has left three dead and several wounded in Gaza. (AlJazeera, May 10)

See our last post on Israel/Palestine.

  1. Al Qaida: We tried to kill Abu Rajab
    May. 21, 2006 16:31
    Al Qaida: We tried to kill Abu Rajab

    Al Qaida on Sunday claimed responsibility for an assassination attempt on the chief of the Palestinian Authority General Intelligence Services Tarek Abu Rajab on the previous day.

    In one of its internet sites the Palestinian branch of the international terrorist organization also issued threats against PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas and other senior Fatah officials.

    Abu Rajab, an Abbas loyalist, was wounded in a blast that took place at a government building in Gaza on Saturday. One of his bodyguards was killed in the explosion and 10 others were wounded.

    Immediately after the explosion, several theories regarding the circumstances circulated in the Palestinian territories, including an assassination attempt or an accident that occurred when one of Abu Rajab’s bodyguards supposedly dropped a grenade in an elevator.

    Hamas may have been the most immediate suspect of the supposed assassination attempt, as heavy tension existed between the movement and Abbas. The organization urged the Palestinian public not to rush to conclusions about the responsibility for the explosion, and to wait until an investigation that Abbas launched would yield results.

    Last month, an unknown group, believed to be headed by al-Qaida in Iraq’s leader Abu Musab Zarqawi, distributed leaflets threatening PA officials.