Ma'an News Agency
July 28, 2011 - 12:00am

RAMALLAH (Ma'an) -- Palestinian security forces raided the Ramallah house of ousted Fatah strongman Muhammad Dahlan early Thursday morning, after his appeal against expulsion from the party was rejected on Wednesday.

At around 7 a.m. police, preventive security and national security forces encircled the home of the former Gaza security chief. Forces raided the house on motorbikes and gunshots were heard as Dahlan's security guards tried to escape, a Ma'an correspondent said.

Twelve security men were held, and communications equipment, computers, 16 weapons and 2 of Dahlan's personal cars were seized.

Official spokesman of the Palestinian security forces Major General Adnan Ad-Dhamiry told Ma'an that only the guards' room beside Dahlan's house was raided, and the home of Dahlan itself was not touched.

Dahlan has parliamentary immunity and was not the target of the raid, he said, adding that officials are permitted to have bodyguards, but need approval from the security forces to hold weapons.

Ad-Dhamiry said forces captured illegal weapons and 10,000 bullets from Dahlan's guards.

Dahlan was understood to have been locked in a room of his house while security forces conducted the searches, AFP reported.

By 9:30 am the raid on the house was over, witnesses told AFP, but police forces continued to surround the residence, controlling the flow of people into the house. Dahlan was apparently still inside the house.

Dahlan was voted out of the Fatah Revolutionary Council, the party's governing body, on June 12, for suspected "criminal acts" that were not specified, and have yet to lead to charges.

Leaked reports say the former Fatah strongman in Gaza was building a private armed militia in the West Bank. Dahlan denies the allegations.

A leader of Fatah military wing, Al-Aqsa martyrs brigade, said to Ma'an that Dahlan should recognize the days of armed civilians controlling the streets are over.

"Dahlan is a normal parliament deputy which means he does not need more than one body guard," he added.


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