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Identifier
Created
Classification
Origin
06JERUSALEM2066
2006-05-22 15:12:00
CONFIDENTIAL
Consulate Jerusalem
Cable title:  

ASSASINATION ATTEMPTS AGAINST FATAH SECURITY

Tags:   KPAL  KWBG  PREL  IS 
pdf how-to read a cable
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OO RUEHWEB

DE RUEHJM #2066/01 1421512
ZNY CCCCC ZZH
O 221512Z MAY 06
FM AMCONSUL JERUSALEM
TO RUEHC/SECSTATE WASHDC IMMEDIATE 2285
INFO RUEHXK/ARAB ISRAELI COLLECTIVE PRIORITY
RHEHNSC/WHITE HOUSE NSC PRIORITY
						C O N F I D E N T I A L JERUSALEM 002066 

SIPDIS

SIPDIS

NEA FOR FRONT OFFICE; NSC FOR ABRAMS/DORAN/LOGERFO

E.O. 12958: DECL: 05/22/2016
TAGS: KPAL KWBG PREL IS
SUBJECT: ASSASINATION ATTEMPTS AGAINST FATAH SECURITY
CHIEFS SPARK CLASHES IN GAZA


Classified By: Consul General Jake Walles, per reasons 1.4 (b) and (d).



1. (C) SUMMARY: Sporadic but intense clashes between Fatah-
and HAMAS-affiliated forces left at least six people dead in
Gaza between May 20-22. The clashes began following the
attempted assassination of General Intelligence (Mukhabarat)
Chief Tariq Abu Rajab, who was severely injured on May 20
when a bomb exploded in a booby trapped elevator at his
headquarters in Gaza City. Separately, Preventive Security
Organization (PSO) officers foiled a possible assassination
attempt against Gaza PSO and Interior Security Chief Rashid
Abu Shabak. Abu Rajab remains hospitalized in Israel with
serious but non-life threatening injuries. While HAMAS has
denied involvement in both attacks, Fatah officials blame
hard-line elements in HAMAS. END SUMMARY.



--------------------------


Violence Escalates in Gaza


--------------------------





2. (C) Sporadic but intense fighting erupted in Gaza between
Fatah- and HAMAS-affiliated forces following the May 20
assassination attempt against Mukhabarat Chief Tariq Abu
Rajab. Heavy fighting broke out on May 22 when Fatah gunmen
apparently fired on a group of Interior Ministry Special
Security Forces standing outside Gaza's PLC building. The
fighting quickly spread to the nearby neighborhood of
al-Jawazat. Two gunmen and one Jordanian national --
identified in press reports as the Jordanian Consul General's
driver -- were reported killed in the fighting. Palestinian
contacts in Gaza confirmed that RPGs were launched during the
fighting in the al-Jawazat area but could not identify which
side had fired them.



--------------------------


Al-Tirawi Blaming HAMAS
For Abu Rajab Attack


--------------------------





3. (C) Deputy General Intelligence Chief Tawfiq al-Tirawi
told POL FSN on May 20 that the blast which injured Abu Rajab
had been caused by 5-7 kilograms of explosives placed
underneath the door to the Mukhabarat Chief's private
elevator. The bomb exploded as Abu Rajab was about to step
into the elevator, killing Abu Rajab's nephew/bodyguard,
Ala'a Abu Hasira, and injuring seven other General
Intelligence officers. Al-Tirawi, who said that he is still
in the process of investigating the bombing, reported that
the evidence so far pointed to hard-line elements in HAMAS.
(NOTE: Publicly, al-Tirawi has implicitly pointed blame
towards HAMAS, telling reporters that responsibility lies
with "those who incite in the mosques and the squares." END
NOTE.) Media sources on May 22 reported that Abu Rajab
sustained serious injuries but is in stable condition at a
Tel Aviv hospital.



--------------------------


Possible Assassination
Attempt on Abu Shabak


--------------------------





4. (C) In the wake of the attack on Abu Rajab, PSO officials
in Gaza discovered a 70 kilogram roadside bomb on May 21 that
had been placed near Interior Security Chief Rashid Abu
Shabak's home. PSO experts diffused the bomb. PSO and
Mukhabarat investigators are reportedly working to determine
whether the two devices had been assembled by the same
person.



5. (C) In response, PSO officials announced May 21 the
formation of a new group, composed primarily of elements of
al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and the Abu al-Arrish Brigades that
will support the work of the PSO. Initial reports indicated
that as many as 1000 Fatah gunmen have volunteered.
(COMMENT: Fatah militants have been patrolling with forces
loyal to Abu Mazen in Gaza since the latest HAMAS-Fatah
standoff began on May 17. The formation of a new
PSO-endorsed group appears intended to formalize that role
and show strength. END COMMENT.)



--------------------------


Abed Rabbo and Fayyad: This Could Be
the Tipping Point For Gaza


--------------------------





6. (C) PLO Executive Committee member Yasir Abed Rabbo told
the Consul General at a May 20 meeting that the assassination
attempt against Abu Rajab threatened to push events &beyond
politics.8 PLC member Salam Fayyad emphasized the political

and security implications of the incident stating that
Palestinians &always knew it would take only one event to
set things off in Gaza. This may have been it.8 Abed Rabbo
added that it is highly likely that officers and individuals
linked to the Fatah-dominated security services will
retaliate. &They aren't going to just sit by after this,8
Abed Rabbo said. In a subsequent conversation with Consul
General on May 21, Fayyad said he had spoken to Abu Shabak
after the bomb had been found near his home and described him
as "resigned" to whatever may happen. Fayyad said he is
deeply troubled by the apparent pattern of attacks and
attempted attacks on pro-Abbas security chiefs.



--------------------------


HAMAS Denies Responsibility,
Unknown Group Taking Credit


--------------------------





7. (C) Spokesman Ghazi al-Hamad released a statement on
behalf of the PA government denying HAMAS' involvement in the
attacks and condemning statements by Fatah officials that he
said were intended to "cause confusion and further tension."
Separately, an unknown group, calling itself "Al-Qaida in
Palestine," claimed responsibility for the attack on Abu
Rajab. Several PA intelligence officials and PLC member
Muhammad Dahlan responded with public statements strongly
denying the existence of any al-Qaida cells in Palestinian
areas.

WALLES