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Last Updated: Wednesday, 7 September 2005, 14:20 GMT 15:20 UK
Obituary: Moussa Arafat
Moussa Arafat
Moussa Arafat was an unpopular figure amongst Palestinians
Moussa Arafat was best known as the cousin of late Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat and as former head of military intelligence in Gaza

But the 65-year-old was unpopular amongst Palestinians, who saw him as a symbol of the corruption, nepotism and incompetence prevalent within the Palestinian Authority established by Yasser Arafat.

He was shot dead on 7 September after being dragged from his Gaza villa by masked gunmen.

The attack has been claimed by a militant splinter group, the Popular Resistance Committees.

Moussa Arafat was a co-founder of the Fatah movement and a senior official in the Fatah Revolutionary Council.

As chief of military intelligence in the 1990s, he earned a reputation for ruthlessness, including a 1996 crackdown on Hamas and Islamic Jihad militants in which he shaved the heads and beards of detainees as a form of humiliation.

Reform calls

Moussa Arafat had already survived several assassination attempts, including a car bomb attack in 2004 and was forced to surround himself with bodyguards.

He came to international attention after he was appointed security chief in the West Bank and Gaza in 2004 by Yasser Arafat.

The move was meant to quell growing calls for reform of the security services, but it triggered clashes between forces loyal to Moussa Arafat and al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades fighters who said they were seeking to root out corruption.

Yasser Arafat relented and apparently demoted his cousin to head of military intelligence in Gaza.

Moussa was sacked again from that post in April this year following a clear-out of corrupt officials by current Palestinian leader Mahmoud Abbas, although he retained a job as a security adviser.

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