RAMALLAH, Palestinian Territories (AFP) – Mohamed Dahlan, the former Gaza strongman rumoured to be out of favour with Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas, was suspended from Fatah’s leadership, the party said on Tuesday.
The central committee of Fatah, Abbas’ political party, announced the decision after a meeting chaired by the president in Ramallah. The leadership body also said Dahlan was facing an internal investigation.
The committee decided “unanimously to suspend Mohamed Dahlan from its meetings until the commission of inquiry finishes its work,” a statement issued by the leadership council said.
A member of the central committee told AFP that Dahlan was accused of “subversion against president Abbas and members of the committee” and of having branded them “incompetent.”
The official, who declined to be named, said that the commission of inquiry notified Dahlan of the accusations and heard his testimony but was still carrying out the probe.
It was the first official confirmation that an investigation into Dahlan is underway, after months of speculation about growing tensions between the former Gaza strongman and Abbas.
Dahlan is currently abroad and his office in Ramallah declined to comment.
The Palestinian media has reported that the commission of inquiry is looking into the origin of Dahlan’s alleged fortune, as well as allegations that he attempted to establish a personal militia.
In addition to suspending Dahlan, Fatah’s central committee also relieved him of his role overseeing the party’s communication and culture portfolios.
A former head of preventative security in the Gaza Strip, and once considered a US protege, Dahlan fell into disgrace after the humiliating rout of his forces by Hamas fighters in June 2007 in Gaza.
Despite his fall from grace, he returned to the political stage in August 2009, when he was elected to Fatah’s central committee during its party conference.