'Plot to kill Haniyeh uncovered'

Hamas broadcasts confessions of suspects claiming to have been instructed by Abbas aides.

Haniyeh  224.88 (photo credit: AP [file])
Haniyeh 224.88
(photo credit: AP [file])
Hamas on Saturday accused their rivals in the West Bank of being behind an alleged plot to assassinate a top Hamas official, and said they are less inclined now to try to mend the deepening rift between the two political camps. In the past, Hamas repeatedly asked Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas to resume contacts that were broken off after Hamas seized control of Gaza by force in June and ousted forces loyal to Abbas. The Palestinian president has said he will only talk to Hamas if it steps aside in Gaza. At a Gaza City news conference Saturday, Hamas broadcast videotaped confessions of alleged suspects, including several who said they received instructions from Tayeb Abdel Rahim, a senior Abbas aide, to assassinate Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas. Abbas' office dismissed the allegations as fiction and denounced Hamas as an "outlaw movement." One of the alleged suspects, Nafez Dabaki, said in the video that he had been offered 50,000 Jordanian dinars ($70,500, euro48,000) if he blew himself up at a mosque where Haniyeh was praying. Dabaki said he was asked three times to carry out the attack, but didn't go through with it. Another alleged assailant, Mohammed Kheil, said he had been asked to kill Haniyeh at a public rally. Kheil said he carried 25 kilos of explosives in a backpack, but said he was spooked by security guards at the rally and left. Said Siyam, a senior Hamas official, told the news conference that Hamas is increasingly less inclined to engage in dialogue with Abbas and his aides. "How can we talk about dialogue with this group, after we discovered this conspiracy which received the blessing of senior leaders who are sitting in the Mukataa (Abbas' headquarters) in Ramallah," Siyam said. He noted that Arab leaders have been urging Hamas and Abbas to work out their differences. "But at this stage, we cannot ignore this conspiracy and we cannot show any mercy for those who were involved in this conspiracy," Siyam said. Responding to Saturday's allegations, Abbas' office said that Hamas "lost its credibility when it cheated and spilled Palestinian blood, and violated all national and moral values," a reference to the Gaza takeover. "Its lies are not going to convince anyone, and instead are another sign that Hamas is not only an outlaw movement, but finds itself outside our morals and traditions," the statement said.