[On Wednesday, Israel assassinated an Islamic Jihad commander said to
have been responsible for weapons development and missile strikes on the
Jewish state, Middle East Newsline reported. Raid Fanouna, who survived four Israeli previous assassination
attempts, was said to have been killed by an air-to-ground missile as he was
driving through Gaza City. Another five people were reported to have been
killed in the strike, which accompanied a ground incursion in the Gaza
The sources cited Prince Bandar Bin Sultan, the kingdom's national
security adviser and the son of Saudi Crown Prince Sultan. Bandar, a former
ambassador to the United States, has been working with several leading
Palestinians, including Dahlan.
"Bandar and Dahlan have been in close contact, and one can assume that
Dahlan has been getting significant Saudi funding," the source said.
The sources said the Saudi effort was launched in February 2007 during
the talks between Fatah and Hamas in Mecca. Senior Saudi officials,
including Bandar, concluded arrangements with Abbas's aides as well as Hamas
representatives, and the flow of Saudi money began in wake of a militia
ceasefire and a national unity government in March.
The Saudi effort has bypassed PA Chairman Mahmoud Abbas, the sources
said. They said Abbas has sought to stop his security commanders and aides
from direct contacts with Saudi and other foreign elements.
But the sources said Abbas has been ignored by Fatah as well as PA
security chiefs. They said Saudi influence in the Gaza
Strip could eclipse Egypt, the source of weapons for Palestinian militias in
The sources said Dahlan has sought Saudi funding to finance a new
militia meant to regain the Gaza Strip. Dahlan's standing in the PA has been
damaged by Hamas's takeover of the region and the quiet support provided to
the Islamic movement by Egypt.
"Dahlan lost much of his power when he fled Gaza," another PA source
said. "This might hurt his new relationship to the Saudis."