A heavily fortified home and a small army of bodyguards in the end were not enough to protect former Palestinian security chief Moussa Arafat. A blood-spattered piece of road marks the spot where he was shot dead after being dragged from his bed before dawn in a raid by masked militants. About a hundred of them stormed the building after a 30 minute gun battle with Arafat’s security men.
The 65-year-old strongman, a cousin of Yasser Arafat, had many enemies. A group called the Popular Resistance Committees has claimed responsibility for the murder. It said it was punishment for corruption. Arafat’s oldest son Manhal was kidnapped by the gunmen.
Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas called a meeting of his top security officials. Prime Minister Ahmed Qureia condemned the attack, saying: “No doubt it’s a very dangerous act that targets one of the Palestinian security leaders who has a history in this field. It’s a real violation against the security of Palestinians. This morning we called all the security leaders that are in regular meetings, President Abbas, myself in the very early morning, together with the security leaders”.
Abbas had fired Arafat following the corruption allegations, but had given him the token role of military advisor.
Various groups are vying for influence in Gaza when Israel hands over control of the strip.