More accounts of torture and murders of political opponents by Hamas during the Israeli attack. I previously posted an Aljazeera piece on this:
Groups question Hamas on `extra-judicial’ killings
By Ben Hubbard
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip – The day after Israeli tanks entered Gaza last month, masked Palestinians opened fire on the al-Najar family outside their home, killing the father and wounding 10 others, including two teenage girls and a 78-year-old grandmother.
Ammar al-Najar, 25, a son of the victim, didn’t know who the gunmen were but he said the family supports the Fatah movement and had trouble previously with Gaza’s rulinggroup.
“My father … tried to talk to them, but they didn’t talk. They just started shooting,” he said. The men wore no identifying symbols, he said.
International and Palestinian human rights organizations say there was a rash of shootings and beatings across Gaza during Israel‘s offensive, voicing suspicions the Islamic militants of Hamas used wartime chaos to target enemies, including activists from the rival Fatah.
Among examples reported by the rights groups, gunmen dragged a man from a hospital bed and another from his grandfather’s house, then shot them dead. A third died in a hospital from beating andafter men who said they were from Gaza security forces pulled him from his home.
Two Gaza-based groups, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights and the Independent Commission on Human Rights, interviewed survivors and witnesses who said some attacks were carried out by members of Hamas’ internal security service.
unlawful killings, torture and death threats against those they accuse of ‘collaborating’ with Israel, as well as opponents and critics.”went further, saying Hamas militiamen engaged in a “campaign of abductions, deliberate and
All three rights groups are urging Hamas leaders to investigate the allegations and prosecute those responsible.
Hamas and Fatah engaged in months of clashes in Gaza before Hamas gunmen seized control of the territory after five days of street battles in June 2007. During the conflict, both sides committed killings and kidnappings, including throwing some victims off high-rise buildings.
In the latest accusations of score-settling by Hamas during Israel’s three-week offensive, Fatah says some of its members were slain, others shot in the arms or legs, and many placed under house arrest that prevented them from fleeing areas under Israeli attack.
Hamas has denied any involvement by members of its security services but acknowledges that Hamas fighters targeted suspected informers for Israel.
“The government distinguishes between any violation of the law and actions taken by the resistance to protect itself from the danger of spies during wartime,” said Taher al-Nunu, a spokesman for Gaza’s Hamas administration. “The government confirms that it will show no mercy for collaborators who stab our people in the back, and they will be judged under the law.”
A report from the Palestinian Center for Human Rights details 32 “extra-judicial” killings from the Dec. 27 start of the Israeli campaign to the end of January.
It said 17 of the dead were among prisoners who fled Gaza’s central prison after it was damaged by an Israeli airstrike Dec. 28. As inmates ran through the bombed-out walls, gunmen were seen grabbing some and their corpses were found later, the report said. Most of the 17 had been held as suspected collaborators and two for raping and murdering a child.
The group said some of the 15 other people killed during that period were snatched from their homes by gunmen, some of whom claimed to be members of Hamas’ internal security service. Some turned up dead soon after, while others were found injured and later died of wounds, it said.
Similar attacks have been reported since Israel halted its offensive Jan. 18.
On Feb. 6, 51-year-old Jamil Shaqqura died in a hospital of wounds from beating and torture, a week after he was picked for interrogation by Hamas’ internal security, the group said.
Speaking at Shaqqura’s funeral, Hamas parliament member Yunis al-Astal said internal security needed to be given stricter instructions. Hamas officials said they were investigating the case.
Hamas also accepted responsibility for the killing of Hasan al-Hijazi, who was shot by three masked men Jan. 7. Hamas later issued a statement calling the killing a “mistake,” the rights groups said.
“What happened was that there was chaos, armed chaos,” said Subhia Juma at the Independent Commission for Human Rights.
Juma’s group said gunmen — some masked, others in official uniforms — severely beat or shot at the legs of at least 116 people. The report by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights mentioned “dozens” of such attacks.
Fahmi Zaarir, aspokesman in the West Bank, said that 14 Fatah members in Gaza were killed by Hamas during the Israeli offensive and that more than 160 were shot in the arms or legs or beaten.
He said hundreds of Fatah members were put under house arrest, preventing some from fleeing from the Israeli advance to safer places. Some who tried to leave their homes were shot at, he said.
Mahmoud Qanan, 25, a Fatah youth leader, said armed men came to his house in the town ofon Jan. 3, confiscated his cell phone and told him he was under house arrest.
“I could have gone to a place safer than my house, but I was scared to go out, that I’d get shot or kidnapped or punished,” he said.
Hamdi Shaqqura of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said his group could not conclusively determine who carried out the attacks, although some testimony pointed to Hamas gunmen.
Amnesty International, however, said there was “no doubt” the wave of attacks was carried out by “Hamas forces and militias as they are the only ones who are allowed to operate with such a degree of freedom throughout .”s
February 15th, 2009