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Arafat successor survives assassination attempt||
31 Dec 2005 07:22 AM
NOV 14: Palestinian militants burst into a Gaza City mourning tent set up for Yasser Arafat on Sunday and fired shots in protest at the presence of his moderate successor Mahmoud Abbas, but he was unhurt.
Two Palestinian security man were fatally wounded in an exchange of fire between the militants and bodyguards shielding Abbas.
Abbas, 69, also known as Abu Mazen, is a former prime minister and a veteran peace negotiator. He has long worked in Arafat's shadow as the PLO's No. 2 official.
The incident began after about 30 gunmen from Arafat's faction-ridden Fatah movement shouting "No to Abu Mazen" walked by him as he stood outside the tent and began firing shots into the air.
The gunmen's rifles were pointed upwards, and not at Abu Mazen,
as they fired more bursts into the air, witnesses said.
Members of Arafat's presidential guard hustled Abbas, 69, into the tent and threw him to the ground for his safety as the militants burst in.
Chaos ensued as gunmen and bodyguards began shooting at each other. At the end of the clash one of the body guards, in an olive drab uniform, lay dead from a head wound in the tent.
Witnesses said the gunmen withdrew and no arrests were made.