Suleiman Abu-Mutlak was a leader of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs’ Brigades, the military wing of Yasser Arafat‘s Fatah movement. He also rose through the ranks as a senior commander of the Palestinian Preventive Security Organization (PSO) in Gaza. During his tenure with PSO, Abu-Mutlak oversaw numerous crackdowns on Hamas and other militant groups that were hostile toward Fatah.
In May 2003 Abu-Mutlak was arrested by Israeli security forces for his suspected role in the November 20, 2000 bombing of an Israeli school bus near Kfar Darom, in which two adults were killed and numerous children were seriously injured or maimed.
Just two months after his arrest, Abu-Mutlak was one of nearly three-dozen Palestinian prisoners released by Israel as a condition of the “road map” to peace with the Palestinian Authority (PA). The Palestinian Minister of Security Affairs, Mohammed Dahlan, personally asked for Abu-Mutlak’s release so the latter could assist Dahlan in reorganizing the PA’s security establishment.
On February 2, 2006, the walls of Abu-Mutlak’s home in Khan Yunis (in the Gaza Strip) were blown apart by a bomb blast which Abu-Mutlak characterized as an assassination attempt by Hamas, though the terror group denied responsibility.
On July 22, 2006, there were media reports that Hamas Interior Minister Said Siam had decided to dismiss Abu-Mutlak from his PSO post. But Fatah sources indicated that Abu-Mutlak refused to be fired, and that he would continue to serve as PSO commander.
Further Reading: “MGGZ01 – Jerusalem” (Wikileaks, 7-23-2006); “Remember Entebbe?” (by Michael Freund, 7-9-2003); “Violent Incidents Complicate Mideast Truce” (Fox News, 7-3-2003); “Israel, Hamas Trade Victory Claims during Truce Violations” (Billings Gazette, 7-3-2003); “Chronological Review of Events Relating to the Question of Palestine” (UNISPAL.un.org, February 2006).