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Militant Islam Monitor > Satire > Murder and Mayhem in Gaza : Arafat's cousin executed by mob - Arab killed by IDF after attempts to storm empty Jewish town

Murder and Mayhem in Gaza : Arafat's cousin executed by mob - Arab killed by IDF after attempts to storm empty Jewish town

September 7, 2005

Arafat cousin killed in brazen challenge to Abbas
By Times Online and Associated Press in Gaza City
Moussa Arafat (Mohammed Abed/AFP/Getty Images)

A group of 100 masked militants stormed the home of Gaza's former security chief before dawn today, dragged him out in his pyjamas and killed him in the street in a burst of gunfire.

The murder of Moussa Arafat, a cousin of the late Yassir Arafat, was being seen as the most brazen challenge yet to the authority of Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian President, just days before the scheduled Israeli handover of Gaza to Palestinian rule.

Arafat, 65, was killed after a 30-minute gunbattle between the assailants and dozens of his bodyguards. The fighting with rocket-propelled grenades and assault rifles raged just a block from the headquarters of the Palestinian security service. Mr Arafat's oldest son, Manhal, was kidnapped by the gunmen.

The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC), a violent group made up largely of former members of Abbas' Fatah movement, later claimed responsibility. The group said that it killed Arafat to punish him for alleged corruption after the Palestinian security forces had taken no action against him.

"We have implemented God's law," Mohammed Abdel Al, a PRC spokesman, told the Associated Press.

Mr Abbas said that he would track down the killers - a pledge immediately put to the test by the bold claim of responsibility. Mr Abbas has said that he will bring bring Fatah fighters under the control of his security forces within three weeks.

The killing heightened concerns that Mr Abbas and his weak security forces will not be able to restore order in the increasing lawless coastal strip where armed gangs control the streets.

Palestinian officials said they viewed the killing as an attack on the government. Mr Abbas convened his top security officials and Palestinian security forces were put on high alert.

While the PRC is made up mostly of former Fatah members, it also includes militants from the Hamas and Islamic Jihad groups. It has taken responsibility for numerous deadly attacks on Israelis.

Members of the group were also arrested by Palestinian police for alleged connection to a bombing against an American diplomatic convoy in October 2003 that killed three Americans. Some were later released for lack of evidence, and others were freed from Gaza's central jail by fellow militants.

Arafat's killing came just hours after Palestinian security forces were unable to contain dozens of rock-throwing youths who charged toward abandoned Israeli settlements and climbed on an Israeli tank. A Palestinian teenager was killed by Israeli troops firing to keep back the crowd.

In light of the chaos, the Israeli military sought permission to pull its last soldiers out of Gaza before the September 15 target date, Israeli security officials said. Ariel Sharon, the Israeli Prime Minister, and senior Cabinet ministers were to consider the issue in a meeting later today.

Mr Abbas fired Arafat, who had many enemies and was the target of frequent corruption allegations, several months ago as part of government reforms. Mr Abdel Al, the PRC spokesman, said that Arafat "was responsible for killing, stealing and blackmail".

"Now we have huge files about corrupt deals by Arafat and his son, Manhal, who is being interrogated and confessed to some of these corrupt deals," he said in a telephone interview. Manhal is a senior security official.

In this morning's military-style attack, about 100 gunmen overpowered dozens of bodyguards patrolling outside his four-storey home in an upscale Gaza City neighborhood. The attackers blew the iron gate off its hinges and tied up the bodyguards after a 30-minute gunbattle, Mr Abdel Al said.

After the attack, Arafat was dragged outside and shot in the sandy street. Palestinian police said three bodyguards were initially kidnapped, along with Manhal Arafat, but were later released. One bodyguard was shot in the leg. Residents said that they heard more than two dozen loud explosions.

The headquarters of the Preventive Security Service is just a block away, but security agents did not intervene. The security forces might have mistaken the shooting for one of the routine nightly training exercises militants stage in the area.

Cabinet minister Sufian Abu Zeideh said that the killing was an attack on the government. "He (Arafat) was a symbol of the authority," he told Israel Army Radio. Arafat was a founder of the ruling Fatah movement and was a senior official in the Fatah Revolutionary Council, a top policy-making body.

After he was fired as security chief, Arafat was given the considerably less influential job of military adviser to Abbas. He was a target of previous assassination attempts and always traveled in a heavily guarded convoy, using an armored limousine that once transported Yassir Arafat.

Origin of the Popular Resistance Committees


he Popular Resistance Committees group's origins lie in local militias that were set up in the early days of the second Palestinian uprising, or intifada.

It is regarded by observers as a fringe group, consisting mainly of dissident or breakaway members of the mainstream Fatah movement and former Palestinian security officials.

However, members of other militant Palestinian factions, such as Hamas and Islamic Jihad, are also represented.

It emerged at the end of 2000, with the aim of defending Palestinian refugee camps during Israeli incursions.

However, the PRC increasing moved towards launching its own attacks, especially against Israeli military and civilian targets in the Gaza Strip.

It has also been involved in internal Palestinian struggles, culminating in the killing of presidential security adviser Moussa Arafat, which the PRC claimed on 7 September 2005.

Military trial

The group was founded by a former Fatah member from Rafah in southern Gaza, Jamal Abu Samhadana, and earned a reputation for armed resistance by blowing up three Israeli tanks using powerful remote-controlled bombs hidden at the roadside.

It was also blamed for the bombing of a US diplomatic convoy in October 2003, which it initially claimed, but then said was "against Palestinian interests".

Four PRC members were put on trial in a military court in Gaza for the attack, but they were released for lack of evidence.

PRC military exercise in Gaza PRC gunmen acting out an assault for the crowds in Gaza
The group has also fired mortars at Israeli settlements in Gaza.

It claimed responsibility, jointly with the Islamic Jihad organisation, for the killing of an unarmed Israeli settler and her four daughters in May 2004.

Two gunmen ambushed Tali Hatuel's car as she was driving from her Gaza settlement to Israel for a Likud party vote on proposals to pull out of Gaza.

Israeli military officials have alleged that the group is directly linked to the Palestinian police, describing it as the "terror wing" of the security services in the Palestinian territories.

The Israelis say that the Palestinian security service provides "vast financial and logistical support" for the committees, including military training, weapons and intelligence information.

But the group is also known to have made enemies with Moussa Arafat, a former military intelligence chief and cousin of late leader Yasser Arafat.


In September 2004 it claimed Gen Arafat's forces had tried to assassinate one of its leaders - and vowed revenge.

The following month he survived a car bombing, blamed on the group, which targeted a convoy in which he was riding. No-one was seriously injured.

It justified the subsequent killing of Gen Arafat because he "killed people, ordered assaults on fighters and had a big file of corruption".

The attack, involving about 100 fighters and in which Gen Arafat's son Manhal was also abducted, was seen as the most serious escalation to date in the power struggles between Palestinian factions following the death of Yasser Arafat late in 2004.

Bizarrely, just days earlier, the group had performed a military exercise at a "graduation ceremony" in Gaza that seemed to foreshadow the attack on Gen Arafat's house.

Hooded men in military fatigues armed with machine guns and rocket propelled grenades stormed buildings - daubed with crude Israeli symbols - and dragged pretend victims to the ground at gunpoint.

It seems unlikely that they will be allowed to act so publicly in the future.



IDF Kills Arab as Mob Tries to Overrun Nīvei DekalimTuesday, September 6, 2005 / 2 Elul 5765

Israeli soldiers Tuesday evening killed one Arab and injured three others when more than 100 local Arabs ignored warning shots in the air and tried to overrun a demolished Jewish community.

The Arabs cut through the fence around the former town of N'vei Dekalim and threw stones at soldiers. They are guarding synagogues, public buildings and the ruins of homes in more than 21 communities where 9,000 Jews lived before being expelled three week ago.

Soldiers fired in the air, but the youth continued to forge into the area and climbed an IDF tank while planting flags of the Hamas terrorist group in the ground. Army sources said they informed the Palestinian Authority (PA) police for three hours during the disturbance. They added that that the police did not try to stop the youths from crossing into the N'vei Dekalim area during a march toward the city of Khan Yunis.

The PA claimed they dispersed the mob and rescued the injured, but IDF sources said they saw no medical vehicles in the area.

The government has expressed fears that Arabs would try to take over the area, where houses of worship and public buildings remain standing. Military officers have expressed concern that terrorists or Palestinian Authority (PA) police would use the buildings as positions for carrying out attacks against Israel.

This evening's incident was the first time IDF soldiers and Arabs were involved in a direct confrontation. Arab terrorists have been shooting randomly at IDF positions and launching occasional mortar shell and rocket attacks in the area and in the western Negev, but the IDF has not responded.

One civilian suffered moderate leg injuries earlier in the day after terrorists threw three hand grenades at soldiers and civilians working near the Egyptian-Israeli border.

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