Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas cancelled his visit to New York where he was scheduled to attend the United Nations General Assembly, following the assassination of his Mousa Arafat, Abbas’ military advisor and former head of the National Security Forces, and ahead of the Gaza handover slated for next Tuesday, Palestinian source said on Wednesday.
‘Due to the handover of Gaza in the next few days and the security situation, the president decided to remain in Gaza and not to go to New York,’ Palestinian Chief Negotiator Saeb Erekat said.
Minister of Interior Nasser Youssef beefed up the security measures placed his forces on high alert Wednesday, following the assassination, which took place pre-dawn Wednesday, when at least one hundred militants of Salah’ Eddin groups, the armed wing of the Popular Resistance Committees, stormed Arafat’s house, killed him and kidnapped his son.
Arafat, 65, a nephew of late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat, was dismissed from his post as chief of the military intelligence, earlier this year by Abbas, then appointed chief of the National Security, before he was subject to compulsory retirement orders issued by Abbas, under which at least 1000 security retired in March.
The Popular Resistance Committees is a coalition of militants most of them are splinters from different parties.
Palestinian sources reported Thursday morning, that Hamas accused Mousa Arafat of killing one of Hamas’ prominent young leaders, Yahia Ayyash, known as ‘The Engineer’, back in 1996.
Ayyash, who was the mastermind of many suicide-bombing attacks in Israel, in 1995 and 1996 was killed when his phone exploded blowing his head away.
A spokesman for the PRC said that the organization was ‘questioning Moussa’s son, Manhal, over his father’s crimes and he will be killed if proven involved.’ ‘He will walk free if the interrogation proved that he is innocent,’ added Abu Abeer.
However, in a statement issued few hours later, the PRC denied any connection to the incidents.
Local observers said this assassination jeopardizes the Palestinian Authority’s efforts in maintaining law and order in Gaza Strip after the Israeli pullout form Gaza Strip is completed.