Palestinian Centre for Human Rights



Security Chaos and Proliferation of Small Arms

Misuse of Arms in Family and Personal Disputes


Field Update

23 February 2006


One citizen killed and 5 injured during clashes between families in Rafah over the past 48 hours

On Wednesday, 22 February 2006, a member of the Sheikh Eid family was killed in Rafah and 3 others were injured, in armed clashes between members of the same family.  PCHR’s initial investigation indicates that at approximately 13:00, gunmen from the Sheikh Eid family fired at Mohammad Nafel Sheikh Eid, 28, who works as a police officer.  He was hit in his right thigh during the attack, which took place in front of Al-Quds Secondary School for Girls (near Al-Awda square in the center of Rafah).  The attack also resulted in the injury of Mokhlis Mohammad Khafaja, 28, who was hit by shrapnel in his right thigh.  Both were taken to Mohammad Yusef El-Najjar Hospital for treatment.  Their injuries were classified as moderate.

At approximately 13:40 on the same day, dozens of gunmen related to the injured officer headed to Shabora refugee camp, where the perpetrators of the first attack live.  The two sides exchanged fire, also using hand grenades, for approximately 90 minutes.  Six homes were burned during the exchange.  Mohye E’Deen Abdallah Sheikh Eid, 23, was killed during the clashes. He was hit by a bullet to the head.  In addition, Mohammad Abdallah Sheikh Eid, 30, was injured by shrapnel which hit his right hand.

PCHR’s fieldworker reported that the clashes erupted in the vicinity of 3 UNRWA schools.  Pupils were terrified and their families were very anxious for their safety.  The pupils were trapped in their classrooms throughout the battle.

It is noted that clashes within the Sheikh Eid family originally started with a small argument between children.  The problem escalated into exchanges of fire that have been ongoing since June 2005.

These crimes were preceded by other events on Tuesday.  PCHR’s initial investigation indicates that at approximately 16:00 on Tuesday, 21 February 2006, three gunmen opened fire at Abdallah Mahmoud Farahat, 62, who works as a Colonel in the National Security Forces.  He was injured in the left thigh.  In addition, his son, Khald (21), was hit by a bullet to the left thigh.  Both were taken to Mohammad Yusef El-Najjar Hospital for treatment.  Their injuries were classified as moderate.

One of the gunmen works as a taxi driver in Rafah International Crossing Point.  He had transported relatives of the injured from the Crossing to the Tal El-Sultan area in Rafah.  They argued over the taxi fare.  He left and subsequently came back with 2 other people.  When the argument about the taxi fare restarted, the gunmen fired at the victims.

PCHR is concerned over the continuation of internal violence, including the misuse of weapons in personal and family disputes. This is part of the ongoing security chaos and problems relating to the proliferation of small arms.  The Centre reiterates its call to the Palestinian National Authority, represented by the Attorney-General, to investigate these crimes and bring the perpetrators to justice.




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