PCHR Condemns Escalating Violence between Fatah and Hamas Movements

Palestinian security forces rule the streets after clashes between them and Palestinian citizens in the West Bank city of Jenin, December 16, 2006. (MaanImages/Raed Abu Baker)

6 Persons Killed, 26 Others Wounded and Mutual Kidnappings

PCHR strongly condemns the serious escalation in violence between Hamas and Fatah movement in the Gaza Strip, which have killed 6 persons and have wounded 26 others in the past 24 hours. In addition, 11 persons have been kidnapped.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR:

On Tuesday afternoon, 19 December 2006, the bodies of Mohammed al-Harazin and Mohammed Kassab of the Palestinian General Intelligence were brought to Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. The two victims were shot dead, but the circumstances of their killing have not been clear.

Earlier, at approximately 12:00, the bodyguards of the spokesman of Ministry of Interior, Khaled Abu Hilal, opened fire at a supply vehicle belonging to the Palestinian Military Intelligence that passed near Abu Hilal’s house in al-Jalaa’ Street in the center of Gaza City. As a result, two members of the Military Intelligence were killed: Shadi Mohammed Dhaher, 25; and ‘Omar Nader al-Wehaidi, 22. Additionally, 7 bystanders, including two school children, were wounded. According to sources of the Executive Force of the Ministry of Interior, Abu Hilal’s house had been fired at earlier.

At approximately 06:00, an exchange of fire erupted between a number of members of the General Intelligence, who brought one of their wounded colleagues to Shifa Hospital, and members of the Executive Force guarding the hospital. Isma’il Abu al-Khair, 23, a member of the Executive Force, was killed, and 8 others (5 members of the Executive Force and 3 members of the General Intelligence) were wounded. Additionally, Kayed al-Zant, a member of the Executive Force, was kidnapped by members of the General Intelligence. Later, the Executive Force responded by kidnapping Ret. Colonel Hammouda Mahmoud al-Saqqa of the General Intelligence from his flat in Shifa apartment building in Gaza City.

On Monday, 18 December 2006, the northern Gaza Strip witnessed regrettable incidents. At approximately 12:30, an armed group kidnapped Yasser Zaqqout, 30, an officer of the Palestinian National Security Forces, when he was near his house in the center of Jabalya refugee camp. Half an hour later, another armed group kidnapped Yasser Abu al-‘Eish, 25, an officer of the National Security Forces, when he was on his way back home in the east of Jabalya refugee camp.

At approximately 15:30, an armed group intercepted Isma’il Mohammed Haniya, 27, and one of his friends, when they were traveling in a car in al-Nafaq Street in the east of Gaza City. Members of the group fired at Haniya, wounding him with several live bullets to the feet.

At approximately 17:00, a number of gunmen stormed a commercial establishment in Jabalya refugee camp belonging to Rabah al-Madhoun, the brother of Sameeh al-Madhoun, a leader of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (an armed wing of Fatah movement), and kidnapped 3 workers from the al-Madhoun clan. Later, a number of gunmen stormed a shop in the camp belonging to ‘Emad Deeb, 44, a leader of the ‘Izziddin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas), and kidnapped him.

At the same time, a number of gunmen raided the office of al-Amal and al-Hayat (Hope and Life) Association in Jabalya refugee camp. They opened fire at all those who were in the office. As a result, Ahmed Tawfiq Ziada, 21, a member of Fatah movement, was killed, and 10 others were wounded.

At approximately 19:20, 4 unknown gunmen kidnapped Ashraf Kamal Mansour, 21, from the central market in Nusairat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. The kidnappers violently beat him. They released him approximately an hour later. He was evacuated to the hospital as he sustained bruises throughout the body.

At approximately 21:00, an armed group kidnapped Sufian Abu Zaida, former Minister of Prisoners’ Affairs and a leader of Fatah movement, while he was traveling in his car near al-Fallouja intersection in Jabalya refugee camp. The kidnappers released Abu Zaida at approximately 22:00.

PCHR strongly condemns these bloody clashes, and:

1. Stresses that these incidents are part of the state of security chaos and misuse of weapons prevailing in the Occupied Palestinian Territory in light of the failure of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to take effective legal steps to stop it.
2. Calls upon the PNA, represented by the Attorney-General, to effectively investigate these attacks and bring their perpetrators to justice.
3. Calls upon all parties to resort to dialogue, to avoid the use of violence and weapons in internal differences and to ensure the safety and security of civilians.

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 Federation 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.

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