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Palestinian forces seize weapons in Dahlan home raid

July 28, 2011 8:43 A.M. (Updated: July 30, 2011 1:54 P.M.)
RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian Authority security forces raided the Ramallah home of ousted Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan early Thursday morning, after his appeal against being expelled from the party was rejected on Wednesday.

At around 7 a.m. police, preventive security and national security forces encircled the home of the former Gaza security chief. Forces raided the house on motorbikes and gunshots were heard as Dahlan's security guards tried to escape, a Ma'an correspondent said.

Twelve security men were held, and communications equipment, computers, 16 weapons and two of Dahlan's personal cars were seized.

PA security forces spokesman Major General Adnan Ad-Dmairi told Ma'an that only the guards' room beside Dahlan's house was raided, and the home of Dahlan itself was not touched.

Dahlan has parliamentary immunity and was not the target of the raid, he said, adding that officials are permitted to have bodyguards, but need approval from the security forces to hold weapons.

Ad-Dmairi said forces captured illegal weapons and 10,000 bullets from Dahlan's guards.

Dahlan was understood to have been locked in a room of his house while security forces conducted the searches, AFP reported.

By 9:30 am the raid on the house was over, witnesses told AFP, but police forces continued to surround the residence, controlling the flow of people into the house. Dahlan was apparently still inside the house.

Dahlan was voted out of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, the party's governing body, on June 12.

Fatah's Central Committee said Thursday that he was expelled for harming Palestinian national interests and coercing outside parties to commit crimes over a number of years.

“Ousting Dahlan was also because of unethical practices, that did not spare a notable figure, nor a political leader or business man in Gaza, by using thugs and death squads, and the residents in Gaza are prosecution witnesses on acts that harm dignity, money and social standings, even families, without any scruples of conscience,” WAFA news agency quoted the committee as saying.

The statement said that Dahlan led a racket which stole money from the Palestinian Investment Fund and controlled crossings and the movement of goods and people. It added that the group also pressured building projects and import and exports for financial gain, which was then invested into a private account abroad.

Leaked reports also said that the former Fatah strongman in Gaza was building a private armed militia in the West Bank. Dahlan denies the allegations.

A leader of Fatah military wing, Al-Aqsa martyrs brigade, told Ma'an that Dahlan should recognize that the days of armed civilians controlling the streets are over.

"Dahlan is a normal parliament deputy which means he does not need more than one body guard," he added.
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