Gaza Strip: 18 wounded in clash protesting appointment of new security chief
Hundreds of armed Fatah fighters traded fire Sunday evening in Rafah with Palestinian military intelligence troops loyal to Palestinian president Yasser Arafat's nephew. Shots were fired during the clashes, and the Fatah gunmen torched several buildings used by the military intelligence in the Gaza Strip. At least 18 people were wounded in these clashes.
The fighters were protesting the appointment of Musa Arafat to the post of head of the Palestinian security forces. Many Palestinians rejected him as a symbol of corruption and cronyism.
Musa said earlier Sunday that he would not resign, despite the protests in the Gaza Strip against his nomination. On his part, Musa Arafat, said that he had no intention of resigning despite the protests. "I will not resign from the position to which I have been appointed," he said.
"The only one who can fire me is the one who appointed me," Musa Arafat told reporters in Gaza.
Early on Sunday, dozens of armed Palestinians burned down the office of the Palestinian intelligence service. Thousands of Palestinians also marched in Gaza City Saturday night to protest against the new appointment, saying it would bring no change.
The crowd shouted slogans against Musa Arafat, who was appointed Saturday following a series of kidnappings by armed groups demanding an end to corruption in the security forces. "No to corruption. Yes to reform and change," operatives from Fatah shouted. "We send a message to the leader Yasser Arafat. Don't replace corruption with even more corruption," said Fatah leader Samir al-Mashharawy.
Forces under the command of Musa, late Saturday took over the structures housing the PA's television and radio stations, as well as the main police stations in the city. The move took place a short while after a presidential decree was made public, instructing reforms in the security organizations.
Meanwhile, Arafat and his prime minister Ahmed Qurei met for four hours in an attempt to resolve the political crisis after the premier submitted his resignation. (albawaba.com)
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)