In the heat of war, top Palestinian fears for his life, sends family abroad

Special to

LONDON — Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas fear the prospect of assassination by members of his own Fatah movement.

Palestinian sources said Abbas has received increased security amid the Hamas war with Israel. The sources said Abbas, upon recommendation of security chief Mohammed Shehadeh, also sent his family to neighboring Jordan while he remained in the West Bank.

Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas
Palestinian Authority Chairman Mahmoud Abbas

“The president now lives alone with his security detail,” a source said.

The sources said the PA intensified security around Abbas’ office and residence in Ramallah. They said the PA chairman hardly traveled outside of Ramallah and instead spent most of his time abroad.

On July 22, the Rai Al Yom newspaper reported that Abbas sent his entire family to Amman amid fears for their safety. The online newspaper said they included Abbas’ wife and grandchildren.

Abbas, adopting Islamist rhetoric, has come under increasing criticism within the Fatah movement for failing to advance Palestinian interests. In mid-July, 15 people were injured in clashes with PA police in the northern West Bank city of Nablus. Later, a firebomb was hurled at a police station in the city.

The sources said Abbas has sought to purge critics from Fatah. They cited the dismissal of supporters of ousted PA security chief Mohammed Dahlan, who accused Abbas and his sons of massive corruption.

Unrest has increased amid the Israeli war with Hamas in the Gaza Strip. Hamas has organized protests in such cities as Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah and Tulkarm.

“In all of these protests, leading members of Fatah stood by as Abbas was called a traitor,” another source said.

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