Palestinian Centre for Human Rights


Security Chaos and Proliferation of Small Arms

Attacking Public Institutions and Officials

Field Update

8 May 2006



3 Palestinians Killed in Armed Clashes between Fatah and Hamas in Khan Yunis

3 Fatah and Hamas activists were killed and 11 others were injured during armed clashes between both factions in Khan Yunis.

PCHR's initial investigation indicates that at approximately 00:00 on Monday, 8 May 2006, a verbal exchange began between members of the Izzedeen El-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) and Fatah activists in the town of Bani Suheila.  The exchange took place after a group of the El-Qassam Brigades had intercepted a car carrying a group of Fatah activists.

After twenty minutes, a car carrying three members of the El-Qassam Brigades entered the town.  An armed group belonging to Fatah, and including members of the Preventive Security Apparatus, intercepted the car and kidnapped the occupants.  Tension between both sides escalated.  The Popular Resistance Committees (PRC) intervened in order to free the kidnapped El-Qassam Brigades members.  In the meantime, El-Qassam Brigades members kidnapped four members of Fatah in the town of Greater Abasan.  Negotiations were held to release the captives, with assistance from the PRC.  Exchanges of fire were heard in Bani Suheila and Greater Abasan during the negotiations.

At 03:30, Wasfi Shaker Shehwan, 25, was brought to Naser Hospital in Khan Yunis.  Citizens found him in Kassab Street in Khan Yunis, bleeding as a result of a gunshot wound in the hip.  He was admitted to the Intensive Care Unit, but efforts to save his life failed and he was pronounced dead shortly after.  Unidentified gunmen had chased Shehwan and fired at him, before fleeing the area.

At 03:40, captives from both sides were released.  Fatah gunmen, including members of Palestinian security forces, withdrew from Bani Suheila to their homes in Abasan.  At this time, clashes resumed in Abasan around the houses of two families with active Hamas and Fatah members.  The clashes resulted in the death of two Fatah activists working in the Preventive Security Apparatus and the injury of eleven others.  The dead activists are: Hamada "Abdel Rahman" Ismail El-Daghma (25), killed by a bullet to the chest, and Mohammad Ahmad El-Jorf (22), killed by a bullet to the chest.

PCHR strongly condemns these clashes, and:

1.         calls on both sides to demonstrate calm and self-restraint.  Both sides should engage in dialogue in order to resolve the crisis and ensure that it is not repeated in the future;

2.         calls upon all national and Islamic parties to intervene in order to ensure that the crisis does not escalate;

3.         calls upon the Palestinian National Authority, represented by the Attorney-General, to investigate these attacks and to bring the perpetrators to justice; and

4.         points to the escalating internal violence and misuse of weapons by armed groups and individuals, which falls under the security chaos in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.




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