Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Security Chaos and Proliferation of Small Arms
Misuse of Weapons by Armed Groups and Security Personnel
30 March 2006
Gaza Strip Witnesses a New Wave of Security Chaos Incidents
The central and southern areas of the Gaza Strip have seen more incidents involving misuse of weapons by armed groups and security personnel, which constitute a continuation of the general security chaos in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). Yesterday evening, 2 citizens were injured by gunfire from members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, against the backdrop of a dispute over a plot of government owned land in Khan Yunis. Furthermore, 2 children were injured while they were handling a locally manufactured explosive device. And in the early hours of this morning, an explosion targeted the vehicle of an officer from the Preventive Security Forces, in El-Bureij refugee camp. Following the explosion, gunmen from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades closed Salah El-Deen Road, opposite El-Bureij refugee camp.
PCHR's initial investigation indicates that at approximately 18:30 on Wednesday, 29 March 2006, gunmen from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the armed branch of Fatah, fired gunshots during a dispute with members of the Al-Lahham family. The dispute was over the use of a plot of land, adjacent to land owned by the Al-Lahham family, in the Mawasi area of Khan Yunis. It is noted that the disputed land is government owned land. The gunfire resulted in the injury of Atteyya Mohammad El-Lahham, 17, who was injured in the abdomen and Majed Khamis Zu'rob, 23, injured by shrapnel in the right hand. The injured were taken to Naser Hospital in Khan Yunis, where the injuries of Al-Lahham were classified as moderate and those of Zu'rob classified as minor.
At approximately 21:00 on Wednesday, Mohammad Husam Abu Tir, 15, and Hisham Ismail El-Habbash, 16, sustained shrapnel injuries all over their bodies, while they were handling a locally produced explosive device in Abu Tir's house, located in Nuseirat refugee camp. They were taken to Al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital for treatment, where their injuries were classified as moderate.
At approximately 3:00 on the morning of Thursday, 30 March 2006, unidentified assailants detonated an explosive device against the garage door of a house belonging to Hatem Sabir Othman, 35, who is a Major in the Preventive Security Forces and lives in El-Bureij refugee camp. The explosion destroyed the garage door and caused extensive damage to Othman's car. The windows of a nearby house were also damaged.
At approximately 8:00 on Thursday morning, a group of about 30 gunmen, including members of the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, closed the section of Salah El-Deen Road opposite El-Bureij refugee camp. They were demanding jobs from the Palestinian National Authority (PNA). The gunmen lit tires on the road and prevented citizens from passing, causing a traffic jam. The closure continued for 2 hours and the road was reopened at approximately 10:00.
PCHR is gravely concerned over the continued misuse of weapons by armed groups and security personnel, which constitutes a continuation of the security chaos in the OPT. The Centre calls upon the PNA, represented by the Attorney General, to investigate these crimes and to bring the perpetrators to justice.
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