Mohammed Dahlan AP
Palestinian Fatah leader Mohammed Dahlan gestures as he speaks during an interview with The Associated Press in his office in the West Bank city of Ramallah, Jan. 3, 2011. Photo by AP
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Palestinian police raided the West Bank home of a rival of President Mahmoud Abbas on Thursday, deepening a feud that has shaken the upper ranks of the ruling Fatah Party.

The raid targeted Mohammed Dahlan, a former security chief in the Gaza Strip who was expelled from Fatah in June because of his repeated criticism of the president.

A Dahlan aide said police arrested 23 guards and assistants, and confiscated 16 guns, a computer and two vehicles. The troops then circled Dahlan's home but didn't detain him. The aide spoke on condition of anonymity because he wasn't authorized to talk to the media.

Adnan Dameri, spokesman of the Palestinian Interior Ministry, said the guns and security guards were illegal. "No one can hire guards with guns without having the approval" of the government, he said.

Dahlan was widely blamed by colleagues for the 2007 loss of Gaza to Fatah's rivals, the militant Hamas, when he was the security chief in the strip. He has also been accused of illegally enriching himself through corruption.

He and Abbas have been feuding since Dahlan criticized the Palestinian leader in meetings with activists several months ago.