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Wednesday, June 22, 2011     FOR YOUR EYES ONLY

Fatah hiding large weapons cache from Palestinian Authority

RAMALLAH — The Fatah movement, marginalized from the Palestinian Authority security forces, has amassed a large weapons arsenal.


Palestinian sources said the Fatah militia has kept most of its weapons demanded by the PA leadership under an amnesty plan offered by Israel. They said the weapons, including assault rifles, ammunition and explosives, were retained by Fatah fighters for operations against Israel.

"Fatah does not mark any threat, but they have enough weapons to resume resistance at any time," a Palestinian source said.

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The sources said Fatah's Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades have been dismantled although members remain in contact, Middle East Newsline reported. They said all but about 20 Fatah fighters have been either absorbed into the PA security forces, retired or granted amnesty by Israel.

"Al Aqsa still takes responsibility for attacks, but they are conducted by individuals not as a group," the source said.

The sources said Fatah sold some of its weapons to the PA over the last two years. But they said the lion's share was concealed, mostly in the northern West Bank.

Several hundred of the Fatah fighters were hired by PA security forces, many of them by the Preventive Security Apparatus. The sources said many of those recruited were not assigned any duties, although they earn about $500 per month.

Fatah, however, was said to retain close ties to several PA security agencies. They were identified as PSA and the General Intelligence Services.

Moreover, the heads of the six main security agencies were all members of the Fatah Revolutionary Council. They were identified as National Security Forces commander Diab Al Ali, Civil Police chief Hazem Atallah, Presidential Guard commander Munir Zubi, PSA director Ziad Al Rih, GIS commander Majid Faraj and Military Intelligence chief Nidal Abu Dhukhan.

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