Palestinian sources have accused Israel of trying to assassinate Jihad Jaara, one of the Palestinians sent to exile following the siege on the Church of the Nativity in 2002, who now resides in Ireland.
According to the sources, Jaara escaped an assassination attempt and the Irish police arrested two suspects – a Palestinian from Gaza who has a European citizenship and a Moroccan with a French citizenship.
A Palestinian source in Ireland told Ynet that while Jaara was making his way on Wednesday to the PLO embassy building, shots were fired at him from a passing car, but he escaped unharmed.
Immediately afterwards, another vehicle crashed into Jaara's car, dropping it into a nearby valley. Jaara was lightly injured, and police officers who were in the area chased the other car and detained the two suspects travelling in it.
Palestinian sources in Ireland told Ynet that "this is beyond any doubt an assassination attempt by the Israeli Mossad."
According to the sources, the car the suspects were travelling in contained the photos of three of three of the Palestinians sent to exile following the siege on the Church of the Nativity – a picture of Jaaara, a picture of Ibrahim Abayat who was expelled to Spain, and a photo of Mahmoud Said who was sent to Italy.
Jaara himself refused to talk to Ynet on Wednesday night, and according to Palestinian sources in Ireland, he was asked not to give any interviews.
The sources added that American officials had promised the Palestinians to "try and end the affair with the Israelis and get a commitment from them that they would not attempt to hurt Jaara or his friends again."
Some 40 Palestinians, most of them Fatah members, were expelled from the West Bank in May 2002, following a siege on the Church of the Nativity after Operation Defensive Shield. Twenty-six men were sent to the Gaza Strip and 13 others to European countries, where they reside to this day.
The Palestinians have been raising the exiles issue in almost every meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and Prime Minister Ehud Olmert, but it has yet to be solved.
Israel firmly refuses to let the exiles return from Europe to the West Bank, and the option of sending them to Gaza has also been rejected time and again.