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Monday, May 15, 2006

Palestinian Civil War Watch - Islamic Jihad plans to assassinate Mazen

HaAretz is reporting this morning that Islamic Jihad is planning to assassinate Mahmoud Abbas Abu Mazen.

According to HaAretz, Palestinian security services recently obtained intelligence information regarding the plans, and security around Abu Mazen has been 'beefed up':
Sources close to Abbas reported the matter in talks with Israeli security officials. According to these sources, Islamic Jihad operatives plan to kill Abbas by means of a car booby-trapped with a large amount of explosives. Since Abbas took over as PA chairman, upon winning an election last January in the wake of Yasser Arafat's death, there have been several reports of intentions by Palestinian terror groups to eliminate him.

A few weeks ago, there were reports of a similar plan by Hamas, which the organization denied.

Members of Force 17 are in charge of security at the Muqata compound in Ramallah, which contains Abbas's offices, while a larger force, the National Security Service, is charged with securing the periphery. Among the National Security Service's tasks are isolating the route along which Abbas's convoy travels, scanning the roads it travels and removing any suspicious vehicles.

PA officials thus also see a personal motive in Abbas's wish to place the National Security Service under his control: fear for his safety if he does not have large enough forces at his disposal. Abbas recently made clear to Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh of Hamas that he views Interior Minister Saeed Seyam's initiative to form a new security agency made up of Hamas operatives as illegal. However, associates of Abbas presume that in this case as well, he will opt not to clash directly with Haniyeh and Hamas.


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