PA: Arrested Hamas activists planned to assassinate Abbas
By Avi Issacharoff - Haaretz
Their motive clearly was to assassinate Abbas, the sources said.
"Hamas' intention was to scuttle the reconciliation talks [between Hamas and Fatah] in Cairo and to create chaos in the West Bank, in contrast to the sense of security that has characterized the territory for the past two years," Fatah spokesman Fahmi Zarir told Haaretz.
Palestinian Authority Secretary Taib Abd-Arahim had said Monday amid the Cairo talks that Palestinian security forces had arrested 10 Hamas members planning to attack PA institutions. The detainees admitted they were planning to assassinate several senior Palestinian Authority officials on July 1, in order to halt the conciliation talks, he said.
Now, new details have now emerged about the plot: The Hamas activists were caught with weapons, maps and photos of senior Palestinian officers. The photos and maps indicated the cell was conducting surveillance on Abbas himself.
Sources say Palestinian security forces have detailed confessions in which the suspects acknowledged planning to assassinate several PA officials and stated they were observing Abbas' movements. PA sources say their motive was clear: to assassinate Abbas. The cell had three to five members, between the ages of 25 and 30.
A spokesman for Hamas' military wing has denied the allegations. However, if they are true, this is evidence not only of Hamas' intention to scuttle reconciliation with Fatah, but also to stage a coup of sorts against the Palestinian Authority. Reports suggest Hamas' military wing has an extremist agenda, but Hamas' political leadership in the west bank is thought not to have been aware of the plot.