Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas escaped an assassination attempt last week. Four large explosive devices were uncovered by Abbas' security officers on the road leading from the Erez crossing to Gaza, as the Palestinian president left Ramallah and was about to travel on that route. Upon discovering the devices, Abbas' security officers instructed him to return to Ramallah. The explosive devices were detonated by sappers of the Presidential Guard.
The assassination attempt took place while the Palestinian president was on his way to meet Palestinian Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh to discuss the establishment of a national unity government. Fatah officials preferred to keep the incident a secret and not publish it, in a bid to discourage additional attempts to assassinate Abbas.
Abbas' convoy is usually comprised of at least 20 vehicles, accompanied by police and national security forces and by his personal bodyguards, who have also been trained in the United States. Abbas travels in a secured vehicle, but the explosive devices uncovered were so strong that the car would not have prevented him from getting hurt.
I really didn’t expect to see Abbas live as long as he has and fully expected a year ago to see Abbas go into exile if he was to survive this long. Abbas is a very weak Fatah leader who divides Fatah rather than being a figure in which all the various and sundry fractions can unite around. Speaking of being united, Fatah/Hamas forces continue to clash marking the death toll for this weekend at 24.