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Sunday, 7 July, 2002, 04:53 GMT 05:53 UK
Arafat under fire over security sacking
Sacked West Bank security chief Jibril Rajoub
Officers loyal to Jibril Rajoub do not want him to go
The former head of Yasser Arafat's security force, Jibril Rajoub, says his officers will never accept the Palestinian leader's choice of a new security chief.

Describing the decision to replace him with the former governor of Jenin, Zuheir Manasara, as a "mistake", Jibril Rajoub told the BBC that Mr Arafat had still to contain the anger over the appointment.

I am sure that this anger will end in 24 or 48 hours

Jibril Rajoub
A two-hour meeting between Mr Rajoub's supporters and Mr Arafat on Saturday evening failed to resolve the dispute.

At least two Palestinian civilians were killed in the territories on Saturday in incidents the Palestinians blamed on the Israeli security forces.

Ahead of Saturday's talks, about 200 protesters from the West Bank's Preventative Security Service (PSS) marched up to Mr Arafat's compound, vowing not to recognise Mr Manasara.

The Ramallah demonstrators were stopped by Israeli troops who now control most of the West Bank towns but a delegation was then allowed to go through.

The open challenge to Mr Arafat's authority, correspondents say, is an important rebellion against him and further shows his diminishing power.

Elections in view

Mr Rajoub, touted by some as a successor to Mr Arafat, said his removal from the PSS had not been "personal".

He told the BBC he was not looking for a new appointment himself or a return to his old job.
Supporters of Jibril Rajoub march through Ramallah
Mr Rajoub's subordinates say his replacement is unworthy of their support

Earlier he said he might change his mind after next year's Palestinian elections.

Mr Manasara has been trying to play down the anger over Mr Arafat's reshuffle, blaming the media for fanning it.

Commending Mr Rajoub for the "great job" he had done, he said he would work to enhance the PSS's new role as part of the Interior Ministry.

He would promote the PSS's "positive aspects and remove the negative aspects", he told a Lebanese newspaper.

Gaza shooting

Palestinians say machine-gun fire from an Israeli tank in the Gaza Strip killed a 44-year old woman and her two-year-old daughter while they were travelling in a taxi on Saturday.

Funeral of 2-year-old Nur al-Hindi
The funerals heard cries for revenge
Another passenger in the taxi said the car came under fire just after passing the Netzarim junction near a Jewish settlement that is heavily guarded by the army.

According to one unconfirmed report, the Israeli army says it is checking reports that its troops had opened fire on "suspicious figures" in the area.

Thousands of Palestinians called for revenge at the funeral of the dead woman and her daughter.

Israeli troops have denied reports that a Palestinian man was also shot dead outside the south Gaza town of Khan Yunis.

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See also:

05 Jul 02 | Middle East
05 Jul 02 | Middle East
03 Jul 02 | Middle East
25 Mar 02 | Middle East
26 Jun 02 | Middle East
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