Palestinian Centre for Human Rights


Security Chaos and Proliferation of Small Arms

Attacking Public Institutions and Officials

Field Update

11 April 2006


Attacks on Public Institutions Continue:

Gunmen Storm the New Abasan District Court in Khan Yunis

A group of armed Palestinians stormed the premises of the New Abasan District Court on Tuesday, 11 April 2006.  The attack came in protest against the Higher Judicial Council’s decision to close the court.

PCHR's initial investigation indicates that at approximately 08:10 on Tuesday, 11 April 2006, a group of 20 masked gunmen stormed the New Abasan District Court in the town of New Abasan, to the east of Khan Yunis.  The assailants forced the court staff and the staff of the district attorney's office to leave the premises.  The gunmen, who lit tyres around the court building, positioned themselves inside the building and on the roof.

One of the gunmen informed PCHR's fieldworker that the attack was conducted by gunmen from the eastern towns of Khan Yunis, in protest against the Higher Judicial Council’s decision to close the New Abasan District Court and place the district under the jurisdiction of the Khan Yunis court.

At approximately 11:15, the gunmen withdrew from the building, after taking a number of files, as well as the official court stamps.

It is noted that the President of the High Judicial Council issued an order on 5 April 2006 to close down the New Abasan District Court.  PCHR learned that the decision was to come into effect today.

PCHR strongly condemns this attack and expresses grave concern over the escalating attacks against public institutions, which threaten the lives of staff members.  These attacks are a continuation of the prevailing security chaos in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.  The Centre calls upon the Palestinian National Authority, represented by the Attorney-General, to investigate these attacks and to bring the perpetrators to justice.


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