36 killed, 250 wounded in 24 hours of Gaza fighting

A Palestinian boy looks at a burning security vehicle during clashes between Hamas and Fatah militants and Palestinian security members in Gaza City, 13 June 2007. (Wissam Nassar/MaanImages)

PCHR is deeply concerned over the continuous fierce fighting between Fatah and Hamas movements in the Gaza Strip, and calls upon the two movements to go back to dialogue and calm down the situation. PCHR calls also upon the Palestinian National Authority to investigate such incidents and bring all those who are involved in them to justice whatever their affiliations are.

Tuesday, 12 June 2007, witnessed the fiercest and bloodiest clashes since the beginning of this latest wave of fighting nearly one week ago. In the past 24 hours, 36 Palestinians have been killed and 250 others have been wounded. The victims include some civilians. Thus, the number of Palestinians killed since the beginning of this latest wave of fighting have increased to 60, and the number of the wounded have mounted to at least 400. These figures include some civilians, including women and children.

Armed clashes have erupted between militants from both movements in various areas in the Gaza Strip, especially in Gaza City and the north. Hundreds of militants have deployed in the streets, some of them are in military uniforms, others are in militia uniforms, and some of them are masked. They have closed dozens of the main and branch roads. Militants from the two sides have taken positions in civilian populated areas and exchanged fire. They have also seized control over a number of high apartment buildings using them as bases for shooting. The two movements have carried out mutual kidnappings, some of which ended with killing the hostages. The two sides have blatantly demonstrated disregard for the lives of civilians, who have stayed at homes voluntarily out of concern for their lives. The educational process has been paralyzed, and the two sides have not listened to calls to provide an appropriate atmosphere for students of the General Certificate of Education to attend their final exams. Additionally, a number of houses and public buildings have been burnt. PCHR has received information that ambulances have not been able to reach areas of clashes on time to evacuate the wounded, and a number of ambulances have been seized. Some medical personnel have not been able to reach hospitals and medical centers to carry out their humanitarian duties. Moreover, UNRWA has declared the closure of four medical centers due to the tense situation around them. These actions violate the principles of international humanitarian law, especially those relevant to the protection of civilians, which raises deep concerns, especially as such violations were recorded in previous clashes too.

This press release is an update for the information reported in PCHR’s previous release issued on Tuesday afternoon, 12 June 2007.

Northern Gaza Strip

At approximately 16:00 on Tuesday, 12 June 2007, fierce fighting broke out near the site of the Second Brigade of the Palestinian National Security Forces near Zimmu intersection to the east of Jabalya town in the northern Gaza Strip, when militants from Hamas and the Executive Force of the Ministry of Interior besieged the site. The fighting continued for four hours and ended when Hamas militants seized control over the site. During the fighting, 14 persons, including 11 members of the site, were killed and 90 others were wounded, including several civilians. The victims and the wounded were evacuated to Kamal ‘Edwan Hospital in vehicles of the Executive Force and the Palestinian National Security Forces. Two ambulances of the hospitals were seized, one of which was returned on Wednesday morning. The victims were identified as:

1. Ahmed ‘Abdullah al-Far, 33, a member of the site;
2. Yousef Sameer Mahdi, 26, a member of the site;
3. Hasan Mohammed al-Da’as, 35, a physician of the National Security Forces;
4. Ahmed Rezeq ‘Aashour, 24, a member of the site;
5. Ja’far Mustafa al-Shaf’ei, 30, a member of the site;
6. Waleed Nemer Qarneeta, 35, a member of the site;
7. Jameel al-Zainati, 51, a member of the site;
8. Eyad Mahmoud al-Kafarna, 34, a member of the site;
9. Jaber Hashem Abu al-Jedian, 23, a member of the site;
10. Unidentified;
11. Munther Shaker Killab, 38, a member of the site;
12. Zakaria Sha’ban Sabbah, 20, a member of Hamas;
13. Mohammed Bahjat Hammad, 22, a member of Hamas; and
14. Mo’in Wadi, 21, a member of Hamas.
Ten militants from the two sides were also wounded in other armed clashes in the northern Gaza Strip.

Gaza City

On Tuesday evening, 12 June 2007, armed clashes continued in al-Maqqoussi housing project. Militants detonated a bomb in an apartment building, where Maher Miqdad, the spokesman of Fatah movement, lives. The building was heavily damaged. Fierce fighting erupted between militants from Fatah and Hamas movements. Six members of the two movements were killed:

1. ‘Emad Abu Qadous, 27, a member of Hamas;
2. Motee’ Fu’ad al-Dawas, 22, a member of the Naval Police;
3. Ahmed Marwan al-Habeel, 22, a member of Fatah movement;
4. Mazen Saleem al-‘Aaidi, 22, a member of the Naval Police;
5. Hamed Abu Hashem, a member of Fatah movement; and
6. ‘Alaa’ Abu Shareefa, 30, a member of Fatah movement.
The armed clashes continued in the area on Wednesday morning and two Palestinians were killed:
1. Mohammed ‘Ali al-Hessi, 27, a member of Hamas; and
2. Harbi Salem al-Ras, 22, a member of Fatah movement.
Also on Tuesday evening, armed clashes erupted in al-Shati refugee camp, west of Gaza City. Three Palestinians were killed:
1. Bial Yousef Shamiya, 25, a member of Hamas;
2. Mohammed al-Muqayad, 24, a member of Hamas; and
3. Hamada Baker, 20, a member of Fatah movement.
In the same area, shells were fired at the house of Dr. Hasan Abu Hasheesh, Assistant Undersecretary of the Ministry of Information. The third floor of the house, where Abu Hasheesh’s brother Dr. Bassam, a lecturer at the al-Aqsa University, lives, was heavily damaged.

At approximately 18:00 on Tuesday, Shawqi Rafeeq Sa’ad, 23, was killed half an hour after he had been kidnapped by militants in al-Shojaeya neighborhood in the east of Gaza City. His family accused Hamas of killing him.

Armed clashes also erupted near the building of the al-Aqsa Satellite Channel, which belongs to Hamas, in al-Nasser neighborhood in the north of Gaza City. A member of the Palestinian National Security Forces, ‘Alaa’ al-Din Mohammed al-Za’noun, 23, was killed.

Additionally, two bodies were brought into Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. One of the victims was identified as Ayman Tafesh, a member of the Palestinian Military Intelligence, whereas the other one has remained unidentified.

Medical sources at al-Quds Hospital in Gaza City declared that Ahmed Hassan al-Lahham, 24, a civilian, died from a wound he sustained two days ago.

Following the burning of the house of Sameeh al-Madhoun, a leader of Fatah movement in the northern Gaza Strip, militants from Fatah movement burnt the building of the Ministry of Agriculture and a number of houses belonging to members of Hamas in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in the south of Gaza City.

Central Gaza Strip

At approximately 19:30 on Tuesday, 12 June 2007, armed clashes broke out near a site of the Palestinian National Security Forces in al-Maghazi refugee camp. During these clashes, Hani Hussein Abu Shamla, 29, a member of the National Security Forces, was killed.

At approximately 01:00 on Wednesday, 13 June 2007, armed clashes erupted near a site of Jenin Martyrs Brigades in Nusairat refugee camp, which was besieged by militants from Hamas. Palestinian civilians intervened and formed a human shield around the site. Ten civilians were wounded by gunfire, and the Hamas militants failed to seize the site.

An hour later, militants attacked a site of the National Security Forces in the east of al-Boreij refugee camp. Armed clashes broke out in the site, but no casualties were reported.

Khan Yunis

On Tuesday evening, 12 June 2007, a fierce fighting broke out in Gizan al-Najjar area in the south of Khan Yunis, where a number of sites of Palestinian security services are located. Militants from Hamas besieged those sites and ordered security men to get out. Firearms and shells were used in the clashes between the two sides. Two members of the National Security Forces were killed:

1. ‘Alaa’ Ibrahim Wafi, 30; and
2. Falah ‘Awad Khalafallah, 21.
The militants failed to seize control over those security sites. However, tension has spread over the area and armed clashes have continued.

Similar armed clashes broke out near the security compound in the center of Khan Yunis. Limited clashes were also reported in Khan Yunis refugee camp, al-Amal neighborhood and ‘Abasan village. During those clashes, 47 Palestinians, including a number of civilians, were wounded.

On Wednesday morning, 13 June 2007, the fighting was resumed near the security compound in the center of Khan Yunis. Militants from the two sides took positions atop of a number of high buildings and exchanged fire.

At approximately 11:00, nearly 300 Palestinian civilians participated in a demonstration called for by nationalist and Islamic factions protesting the internal fighting. The demonstrators moved towards the areas of armed clashes, but the exchange of fire did not stop. As a result of the exchange of fire, Jamal Mohammed al-Jbour, 30, a member of the National Security Forces, was killed, and three civilians were wounded. Later, another security man, 22-year-old Saber Zaki Barbakh, was killed in armed clashes.

Also at approximately 11:00, militants from Hamas besieged a site of Brigade 24 of the National Security Forces, and seized it after limited armed clashes.

At approximately 12:00, armed clashes erupted in the Sea Street in the center of Khan Yunis. Two Palestinian civilians, including a child, were killed:

1. Alaa’ Hamdi Farawana, 15, hit by a gunshot to the head when she was at home; and
2. ‘Abdul Fattah Hussein Abu Ghali, 39, an UNRWA staff member, hit by a gunshot to the head when he was near his house.
PCHR reiterates condemnation for the bloody internal fighting between Fatah and Hamas movements, and:

1. Calls upon the Palestinian President and Government to fulfill their responsibilities, and to take immediate steps to restore order and security, and to protect civilians from the effects of these disgraceful clashes.

2. Calls for a serious investigation into all these incidents, and for the prosecution of the perpetrators regardless of their identity.

3. Holds the two movements fully responsible for any damage to the educational process, warns of the consequences of the continuation of fighting on students of the General Certificate of Education, and stresses that there is no justification to sacrifice the educational process and push students into disgraceful fighting and a conflict over authority.

4. Calls for the withdrawal of all forms of militancy from streets, intersections, and residential buildings, including members of security forces and militias, as continued militant presence threatens the lives of innocent civilians.

5. Calls upon all political factions and NGOs to act to stop this disgraceful conflict over authority, whose price is paid by the Palestinian people and their cause.

6. Reminds that this fighting comes on the occasion of the 40th anniversary of the occupation of the West Bank and the Gaza Strip; instead of joining efforts to confront the Israeli occupation and realize the legitimate rights of the Palestinian people, the two main Palestinian factions are involved in regrettable fighting that can be described as self-destruction.

Related Links

  • Palestinian Centre for Human Rights