SIDON, Lebanon: The Fatah Movement has expelled high-profile senior official Mahmoud Issa, also known as Lino, after a group affiliated with him made claims of corruption within the Palestinian party.
The decision to expel Lino came despite his assurances last month that he still adhered to decisions made by the Palestine Liberation Organization. The PLO comprises several Palestinian movements, including Fatah, and is headed by President Mahmoud Abbas.
The Military Committee within the Fatah Movement demoted Lino from the rank of brigadier general to soldier and then exorcized him, Palestinian sources told The Daily Star.
Lino was consequently stripped of his security entourage and the political cover he enjoyed, making him more vulnerable to assassination attempts.
Earlier this week, a bomb exploded in a dumpster in the refugee camp of Ain el-Hilweh where Lino is based just minutes after his convoy had passed through the neighborhood.
Lino was not traveling in the convoy at the time but some members of his family, including his wife, were.
Sources also said that Lino has begun hiring personal bodyguards and is considering moving out of Ain el-Hilweh to guarantee his safety.
Ties between Lino and Fatah's leadership deteroriated in September after a group of Fatah officers under the name Fatah’s Correction Movement, allegedly led by Lino, slammed in a statement what they called endemic corruption in Fatah.
The officers said Fatah’s leadership was not providing aid to Palestinian refugees fleeing from Syria to Lebanon and had abandoned its responsibility to defend the refugee camps in Lebanon against extremists.
The statement also demanded that Palestinian Ambassador to Lebanon Ashraf Dabbour resign, ties between Fatah and Palestinian missions to Lebanon be severed, Fatah’s finances be scrutinized and Azzam Ahmad be relieved of his post.
Ahmad is in charge of Palestinian issues in Lebanon and a member of Fatah’s Central Committee.
In response to the statement, sources at the time told The Daily Star that Fatah was considering suspending Lino's membership.