(photo credit: REUTERS)
The rivalry between Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas and former
Fatah commander Muhammad Dahlan reached its peak on Thursday, when PA security
forces raided the home of the latter, detaining his bodyguards and confiscating
The raid came hours after a Fatah disciplinary court
rejected Dahlan’s appeal against the decision by the Fatah Central Committee to
expel him from the faction.
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Dahlan returned to Ramallah from Cairo
earlier this week to appeal against the decision to expel him on suspicion of
financial corruption, murder and plotting to undermine the PA
He had been living in Egypt and Jordan ever since the dispute
between him and Abbas erupted more than a year ago.
that scores of PA security officers belonging to various branches of the
Palestinian security forces raided Dahlan’s home early Thursday in the Ramallah
suburb of Tira.
Some of the policemen were disguised as garbage
collectors from the Ramallah Municipality, the eyewitnesses reported.
was a big commando operation,” said one neighbor.
“In the beginning we
thought it was the Israeli army carrying out an operation in our
Twelve security guards assigned to Dahlan were taken into
custody and a dozen vehicles, including armored trucks, were confiscated during
the raid, the first of its kind in the West Bank against a top Fatah
The PA policemen also confiscated 16 pistols and automatic
rifles found in the possession of the guards, as well as thousands of bullets,
the source said.
“The raid was carried out against persons suspected of
illegal possession of weapons,” said Adnan Damiri, spokesman for the PA security
forces in the West Bank. “There is no need for such armed phenomena in wake of
the security and stability in the West Bank. We won’t allow a return to anarchy
Damiri said that only two officials were authorized to
travel in convoys escorted by bodyguards: Abbas and Prime Minister Salam
Damiri denied that the PA security men had entered Dahlan’s home,
saying that the raid was only against the private guards stationed in the
vicinity of the house.
Dahlan was at home during the raid, but no
measures were taken against him because he enjoys parliamentary immunity in his
capacity as member of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the spokesman
Following the raid, Dahlan left for Jordan together with some of
his aides. By early evening, most of the security guards who were detained had
been released by the PA security forces.
Sufyan Abu Zayda, a Fatah
legislator and a close friend of Dahlan who was present during the raid,
condemned the move as disgraceful and said Abbas was personally
A Fatah official said that the decision to expel Dahlan was
taken because of violations he had committed against “national and social
The official accused Dahlan of seeking the help of “foreign
parties” to undermine the PA leadership, and commit murder and immoral
According to the official, Dahlan was involved in extortion
against Palestinian businessmen in the Gaza Strip during the years that he
headed the PA’s Preventive Security Force under Yasser Arafat.
also established “death squads” that targeted innocent Palestinians, the
Jamal Muheissen, a senior Fatah official in the West
Bank, defended the raid on Dahlan’s home. He said that there was no reason why a
member of parliament should have 12 bodyguards and drivers instead of one. He
added that one of Dahlan’s men fired into the air during the raid and was
The raid on Dahlan’s home angered many of his Fatah
supporters in the Gaza Strip, who threatened to quit Fatah in protest.