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Abu Mazen (Mahmud Abbas) Survives an Assassination Attempt
Associated Press Television News footage showed a group of about 20 men entering the mourning tent where Abbas, Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan and other key Palestinian leaders had come to mourn for Arafat, who died Thursday. The gunmen, clad in green, shouted, "Abbas and Dahlan are agents for the Americans!"
At least two people were killed Sunday when bodyguards of former Palestinian prime minister Mahmoud Abbas (Abu Mazen) exchanged fire with troops under the command of Gaza security chief Moussa Arafat as Abbas paid a visit to an official mourning tent for Yasser Arafat in Gaza City.
One of the two killed in the shooting is believed to have been a bodyguard for Abbas. The former prime minister, who was named earlier Sunday as Fatah's candidate for the Palestinian Authority chairmanship, was unhurt in the shooting; five other people were wounded.
The 69-year-old Abbas was accompanied by Mohammed Dahlan, the former Palestinian security chief in the Gaza Strip.
The guards for Abbas had been provided by Dahlan, who served as security affairs minister during Abbas' tenure as premier.
The chaos erupted after masked gunmen, clad in green, walked by Abbas shouting "No to Abu Mazen" as he stood outside the mourning tent.
Associated Press Television News pictures showed a group of about 20 men entering the mourning tent where Abbas, Dahlan and other key Palestinian leaders had come to mourn for Arafat.
The gunmen shouted "Abbas and Dahlan are agents for the Americans" and opened fire.
Suleiman Mahdi, a Palestinian Authority driver, said Abbas was shaking hands with visitors when the gunfire erupted.
Security guards hustled Abbas into the tent and threw him to the ground for his safety as shooting intensified. He was later taken to Palestinian headquarters.
Gaza City - Two members of the Palestinian security services were killed on Sunday in a shooting incident as PLO leader Mahmud Abbas visited a mourning tent at late leader Yasser Arafat's Gaza City headquarters, medical sources said.
Four other people were wounded in the incident although Abbas himself, surrounded by aides and guards, was unharmed, the sources added.
Abbas had just arrived at the Muntada base to receive condolences for Arafat who died in hospital on the outskirts of Paris on Thursday.
Medical sources named the two victims as Kamal Abu Khenief, a member of Arafat's elite Force 17 unit and Rawad Darwish, a member of the preventive security service.
Witnesses said that more than a thousand people, many of whom were armed, were in the tent at the time of the shooting. The gunfire triggered scenes of panic as people fled the scene.
It was not immediately clear if Abbas, who is favourite to succeed Arafat as president of the Palestinian Authority, was the target of the gunmen.
Other witnesses said that the powerful former security minister Mohammed Dahlan, who served under Abbas when he was prime minister last year, was also with Abbas at the time.
Abbas had travelled to Gaza City after a series of political meetings in the West Bank designed to ensure a smooth transition of power.
There have been widespread fears that Arafat's death could trigger an outbreak of lawlessness, especially in Gaza which has been the scene of several deadly clashes between security services and armed factions in recent months.
Gaza is the stronghold of the Islamist movement Hamas which fiercely resisted efforts by Abbas and Dahlan last year to implement a disarmament programme.
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip - Gunfire erupted Sunday in the tent set up for mourners of Yasser Arafat just after his successor as PLO leader arrived, and one Palestinian policeman was killed and five other people were wounded, witnesses and hospital officials said.
Gunmen fired in the air about five minutes after Mahmoud Abbas, Arafat's longtime deputy chosen over the weekend as his successor, arrived in a motorcade. Abbas' bodyguards also fired in the air, the witnesses said.
Abbas was not wounded.
Suleiman Mahdi, a Palestinian Authority driver, said Abbas was shaking hands with visitors when the gunfire erupted. Security officers immediately surrounded Abbas, he said.
"They took him to a safe place, then he managed to get out of the area," Mahdi said.
Associated Press Television News footage showed a group of about 20 men entering the mourning tent where Abbas, Gaza strongman Mohammed Dahlan and other key Palestinian leaders had come to mourn for Arafat, who died Thursday.
The gunmen, clad in green, shouted, "Abbas and Dahlan are agents for the Americans!"
Gunfire then popped through the tent. Abbas' bodyguards hustled him into a corner as frightened mourners scrambled over plastic chairs to flee.
Abbas was taken to Palestinian headquarters after the shooting, witnesses said.