posted on Nov, 14 2004 @ 11:47 PM
Head of the temporary Palestinian leadership, Mahmoud Abbas, escaped harm today as gunmen with assault rifles burst into a mourning tent and opened
fire. Two security guards were killed and six were wounded. Despite the message of unity being publicly projected, many fear that this attack is a
sign of significant infighting between Palestinian factions. Chief amongst them are Fatah, which was founded by Arafat, and groups such as Hamas and
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Mahmoud Abbas, the temporary successor to Yasser Arafat, escaped unharmed Sunday when militants firing assault rifles burst
into a mourning tent for the deceased Palestinian leader, killing two security guards and wounding six other people.
The shooting raised grave concerns about a violent power struggle in the post-Arafat era. Some of the gunmen shouted slogans calling Abbas, a moderate
who has spoken out against violence, an agent of the United States.
The bursts of gunfire came just hours after Palestinian officials set Jan. 9 as the date for elections to choose a new leader — the first vote in nine
The temporary Palestinian leadership, headed by Abbas, has been trying to send a message of unity since Arafat's death Thursday. Arafat's
responsibilities were divided among several leaders, and officials held talks with rival factions in Arafat's Fatah movement and the militant
opposition groups Hamas and Islamic Jihad.
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This was the greatest fear following the death of Arafat. If Abbas is unable to consolidate power, the infighting could lead to total chaos in the
Gaza and the West Bank. As these groups battle over power, the people who are going to pay are the Palestinians. Israel will no doubt move in to try
to stabilize the region, and ensure its security, touching off another wave of suicide bombings and other terrorist acts.