Fatah suspends 'strongman' Dahlan

Palestinian faction bans former Gaza security chief from its meetings as it embarks on internal probe into his affairs.

    Dahlan, left, was once considered as a possible successor to Fatah leader Abbas, right [EPA]

    Muhammad Dahlan, the former Fatah strongman who is rumoured to be out of favour with Mahmoud Abbas, the president of the Palestinian Authority (PA), has been suspended from the Palestinian political leadership.

    Dahlan was banned from attending faction meetings, the WAFA news agency reported, saying only that he was being investigated by Fatah's highest decision-making body.

    Palestinian media reports said the commission of inquiry is looking into the origin of Dahlan's alleged fortune, as well as allegations that he attempted to establish a personal militia in order to stage a coup against the PA.

    Fatah's central committee announced the decision on Tuesday, following a meeting chaired by Abbas, saying that Dahlan was facing an internal investigation.

    A statement from the committee said that it had decided "unanimously to suspend Muhammad Dahlan from its meetings until the commission of inquiry finishes its work".

    Prior to the ban, Abbas had ordered security guards to be removed from Dahlan's office and house in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

    A senior Fatah official said Dahlan was accused of "subversion against president Abbas and members of the committee" and of having called them "incompetent".

    In addition to suspending him, Fatah's central committee also relieved Dahlan of his role overseeing the party's communication and culture portfolios.

    Dahlan, who has been residing in Cairo, the Egyptian capital, said on Wednesday that he planned to return to the West Bank this week to answer the allegations.

    A former security chief in the Gaza Strip, and once considered a possible successor to Abbas, Dahlan fell from grace after his forces were routed by Hamas fighters in June 2007 in Gaza.

    Despite this, he returned to the political stage when he was elected to Fatah's central committee during its party conference in August 2009.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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