Fatah-Hamas Armed Clashes Continue

Over the past week, armed clashes between armed groups and security forces have escalated, leaving seventeen Palestinians injured, one injured seriously. Five people were also kidnapped and three vehicles were blown up.

PCHR’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 11:30 on Tuesday, 27 June 2006, an exchange of fire took place between members of the Preventive Security and members of Hamas in the Unknown Soldier Square in Bani Suheila. The clash resulted in the injury of Suliman Khalil Abu Libda (50) by a bullet to the right leg, while he was about to leave his house. He was taken to Naser Hospital in Khan Yunis for treatment, where his injury was listed as moderate.

At approximately 02:00 on the same day, unknown assailants detonated an explosive device in a vehicle belonging to the family of Colonel Fayez El-Aydi, who works in the Force 17 Apparatus. The vehicle was parked under the residential building, where he and his family live, in the Tal El-Hawa area of Gaza City. The vehicle was completely destroyed. In addition, damage was incurred to a number of nearby apartments. It is noted that one of the Colonel’s sons works in the Preventive Security.

At approximately 02:00 on Sunday, 25 June 2006, gunmen arrived at the house of Mahmoud Mohammad Abu Salah (a 23-year-old resident of Greater Abasan, east of Khan Yunis), who works in the Naval Police and is a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (the armed wing of Fatah). They burned Abu Salah’s car and fired shots at the house. He sustained a minor shrapnel injury to the right side.

At approximately 14:00 on Saturday, 24 June 2006, gunmen kidnapped Saqer Mohammad Hashem El-Saftawi, a 33-year-old resident of Nusirat refugee camp, who works in the Palestinian Police Force. They also kidnapped his assistant, Eyad El-Dabba, a 38-year-old resident of the El-Sabra area of Gaza City. Both men were kidnapped near the Islamic University in Gaza City and were taken to an undisclosed location. In his statement to PCHR, El-Saftawi accused members of Hamas of kidnapping him and his assistant, and subjecting them to interrogation and beatings with gun buts. After that, both men were handed over to the members of the Ministry of Interior Executive Force, who handed them over to the Ministry of Interior at midnight.

At approximately 17:30 on the same day, gunmen from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades kidnapped Moussa Abu Ma’rouf (19) and Abdallah Abu Ma’rouf (18) from the Jourit El-Luot area of Khan Yunis. Both men are Hamas activists and were kidnapped in the center of Khan Yunis. They were taken to a social club run by the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and were released at approximately 19:00.

At approximately 22:30 on the same day, masked gunmen traveling in a car fired at Abdallah Mohammad El-Qarra (24), while he was in his grocery shop in the Abu Mostafa area of Greater Abasan. He was hit by bullets to the chest and legs. He was taken to Naser Hospital, where his condition was described as serious.

At approximately 09:30 on Friday, 23 June 2006, masked gunmen traveling in a car kidnapped Ahmad Hussein Safi, a 24-year-old resident of Khan Yunis and a member of the Preventive Security Apparatus, while he was walking near his house in the city. Safi managed to escape his captors and call his colleagues, who came to his rescue. Both sides exchanged fire. An unidentified civilian was injured in the exchange.

At approximately 07:00 on Thursday, 22 June 2006, armed clashes erupted between members of Islamic Jihad and members of the National Security , near the government compound in the city of Jenin. The clashes resulted in the injury of three members of the National Security Forces. The injured are:

  • Ali Abu El-Naja (35), injured by a bullet to the hand;
  • Ma’ali El-Najjar (24), injured by a bullet to the abdomen; and
  • Khayri Dweikat (24), injured by a bullet to the leg.

    PCHR’s preliminary investigation into the incident indicates that the clashes erupted when a vehicle refused to stop at a roadblock erected by National Security Forces. The security forces fired at the vehicle and injured Ala Yaser El-Ghul (22) with a bullet to the abdomen and Mohammad Ahmad Biekawi (19) with a bullet to the leg. The clashes resumed at approximately 13:30 the next day. No injuries were reported in the second incident.

    At approximately 01:30 on Thursday, 22 June 2006, unknown assailants threw a hand grenade at the house of Khaled Mohammad Abu Hilal (43), the spokesman of the Ministry of Interior and National Security. No injuries or damage were reported. The house is located in Jala Street in Gaza City.

    At approximately 22:00 on Wednesday, 21 June 2006, unknown gunmen fired shots near the house of Sa’id Rashid El-Najjar (35) in the Qiezan El-Najjar area of Khan Yunis. El-Najjar works in the General Intelligence Service. Two of the house guards and a woman who was nearby were injured. They were taken to Naser Hospital for treatment, where their conditions were listed as moderate. The injured are:

  • Ahmad Abdel Latif El-Najjar (22), injured by bullets to the legs;
  • Rami Ayesh El-Najjar (21), injured by bullets to the legs; and
  • E’timad Jamil Orabi El-Najjar (32), injured by shrapnel to the legs.

    At approximately 23:00 on the same day, an explosive device was detonated in a vehicle belonging to Yaser Hussein Dahlan (32), who works in the Ministry of Civil Affairs. At the time, Yaser, his mother-in-law and Ahmad Abu Shouqa (28) were in the car. Abu Shouqa is Dahlan’s friend and works in the Preventive Security. The incident took place near the headquarters of the Preventive Security in the Tal-El-Hawa area of Gaza City. The three sustained injuries and were taken to Al-Quds Hospital for treatment. Their injuries were described as moderate.

    And at approximately 23:20 on the same day, members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades and members of the Executive Force traveling in a car exchanged fire in central Khan Yunis. Ali Mohammad Shurrab (22) was injured by a bullet to the right leg. Wa’el Othman El-Qassas (25) was injured by shrapnel to the right foot. Shurrab was a bystander and El-Qassas a member of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades. Both were taken to Naser Hospital for treatment. Shurrab’s injury was described as moderate and El-Qassas’ injury was listed as minor.

    PCHR is gravely concerned over the continued escalation in the use of arms by armed Palestinian groups and individuals, which is part of the security chaos plaguing the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). The Centre calls upon the Palestinian National Authority (PNA), represented by the Attorney-General, to seriously investigate these crimes and to bring the perpetrators to justice.

    The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR) is an independent legal body based in Gaza City dedicated to protecting human rights, promoting the rule of law and upholding democratic principles in the Occupied Palestinian Territory. It holds Special Consultative Status with the Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) of the United Nations and is an affiliate of the International Commission of Jurists, the Fédération Internationale des Ligues des Droits de l’Homme (FIDH), and the Euro-Mediterranean Human Rights Network. PCHR is a recipient of the 1996 French Republic Award for Human Rights.