GAZA CITY (AFP) -Mussa Arafat, military advisor to Palestinian leader Mahmud Abbas and a cousin of his late predecessor Yasser Arafat, was shot dead by unknown assailants in the Gaza Strip overnight, Palestinian security sources said.
The former Palestinian security chief was killed at his home during an exchange of fire between the attackers and his bodyguards, the sources said. adding that his son, Manal, was kidnapped in the attack.
Mussa Arafat, known to have many enemies, survived an assassination attempt in July 2003 when attackers threw a grenade towards his car.
His death comes as Palestinian security forces prepare to take control of the Gaza Strip which the Israeli army has vowed to vacate completely by September 15.
Arafat lost his position as national security chief in April when Abbas got rid of several officials close to Yasser Arafat. He was subsequently named as advisor on military affairs with ministerial rank.
Yasser Arafat died in a Paris hospital last November.
The late Palestinian leader had appointed Mussa Arafat as head of security in July 2004 to loud protests in the Gaza Strip, and even within Yasser Arafat”s own Fatah movement.
The Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed and radical offshoot of the dominant Fatah faction, led the chorus of disapproval, accusing Mussa Arafat of being a symbol of corruption within the Palestinian Authority.
In the hours following his nomination, the offices of the military intelligence services which he ran in the southern Gaza Strip were torched by Al-Aqsa.
Mussa Arafat arrived in the Palestinian territories in the wake of the 1993 Oslo peace plan for the Middle East.
As head of military intelligence he took part in the repression of armed groups. The resentment against him dates from that time when he earned a reputation for brutality.