Muhammad Dahlan, the former Fatah strongman who is rumoured to be out of favour with Mahmoud Abbas, the Palestinian president, has been suspended from the Palestinian political leadership.
Dahlan was banned from attending faction meetings, the WAFA news agency reported, saying only that he was being investigated by Fatah’s highest decision-making body.
The party’s central committee announced the decision on Tuesday, following a meeting chaired by Abbas, saying that Dahlan was facing an internal investigation.
A statement from the committee said that it had decided "unanimously to suspend Muhammad Dahlan from its meetings until the commission of inquiry finishes its work".
Prior to the ban, Abbas had ordered security guards to be removed from Dahlan’s office and house in the West Bank city of Ramallah.
Dahlan is currently abroad and his office in Ramallah declined to comment.
The move is the first official confirmation that an investigation into Dahlan is underway, after months of speculation about growing tensions between him and Abbas.
Palestinian media reports said the commission of inquiry is looking into the origin of Dahlan’s alleged fortune, as well as allegations that he attempted to establish a personal militia.
A senior Fatah official said Dahlan was accused of "subversion against president Abbas and members of the committee" and of having called them "incompetent".
According to the official, the commission of inquiry notified Dahlan of the accusations and heard his testimony.
In addition to suspending him, Fatah’s central committee also relieved Dahlan of his role overseeing the party’s communication and culture portfolios.
A former security chief in the Gaza Strip, and once considered a possible successor to Abbas, Dahlan fell from grace after his forces were routed by Hamas fighters in June 2007 in Gaza.
Despite this, he returned to the political stage when he was elected to Fatah’s central committee during its party conference in August 2009.
(Agencies via Aljazeera English)