Former Fatah security strongman Muhammad Dahlan on Tuesday again rejected claims of an attempted military coup against Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, calling them fantastical. Dahlan stated that the investigation conducted last Sunday confirmed his negative statements concerning Mahmoud Abbas's sons, but did not reveal any personal involvement with a weapons cache or a possible coup, London-based Arabic language daily Al-Hayat reported.

The conflict between Abbas and Dahlan arose after recordings surfaced of Dahlan speaking ill of Abbas and the need to replace him with another leader. Dahlan was then suspended from his seat in Fatah's Central Committee and had his personal security removed. Offices for a new television channel to which Dahlan was closely involved were also closed by Abbas. Dahlan was expected to travel to Jordan and wait there for the results of his investigation, scheduled to be released next weekend.


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Palestinian media outlets affiliated with Hamas reported Monday evening that a wave of PA arrests against loyalists of Dahlan came in reaction to a coup Dahlan was planning to undertake in the West Bank.

The reports, quoting unnamed Fatah officials, cited a Fatah central committee decision to freeze Dahlan's membership in Fatah until a special investigative committee into his actions reaches its conclusions.

Dahlan denied the reports, telling the Al Arabiya TV network "the accusation that I conspired against Abu Mazen is inconceivable." He said the sources spreading the accusations were trying to cause an internal rift inside Fatah.

The report came after Palestinian Authority security forces over the weekend arrested Dahlan's bureau director.

Sources in Ramallah said that Mu’taz Khdeir, who has been working with Dahlan for the past few years, was arrested for “security reasons.”

Palestinians said that the Dahlan affair marked the biggest challenge to Abbas’s authority since Hamas drove the PA out of the Gaza Strip in 2007.

Private TV and radio stations owned by Dahlan have also been closed down in the context of the clampdown.

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