|Bloody Fighting in Gaza on the First Day of the General Certificate of Education Exams|
|Monday, 11 June 2007 00:00|
Date: 11 June 2007
Time: 12:30 GMT
Bloody Fighting in Gaza on the First Day of the General Certificate of Education Exams
Tension has spread all over Gaza City in light of internal fighting that has taken place over the past 24 hours, which have taken the lives of 3 Palestinians and have left 14 others, including 7 children, wounded. These bloody incidents coincide with the initiation of the exams of the General Certificate of Education (Tawjihi). Thousands of students have gone to their exams in an atmosphere of terror, passing through checkpoints erected in the streets and being placed under gunfire.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 11:00 on Sunday, 10 June 2007, unknown militants kidnapped 2 members of Force 17 when they were near their wok place at Gaza beach: Mohammed Salama al-Swairki, 27; and Ibrahim al-Hatu. Three hours later, militants also kidnapped 2 members of the Palestinian Presidential Guard near Gaza Harbor: 'Abdullah Mohammed Abu Hassira; and Mohammed 'Eid Abu Hassira.
At the same time, militants kidnapped Hamada Mohammed al-Qerem, 28, a member of Force 17 from Khan Yunis, and 'Aatef Mustafa Abu Dahi, 25, a member of the Preventive Security Service from Rafah, near Doula building in the east of Gaza City. At approximately 01:00 on Monday, al-Qerem and Abu Dahi were brought into al-Aqsa Martyrs Hospital in Deir al-Balah town as they were shot to the feet.
At approximately 17:00 on Sunday, the kidnappers of Mohammed Salama al-Swairki pushed him down from the 13th floor of al-Ghefari tower building near Gaza Harbor. He was instantly killed.
At approximately 17:30, masked gunmen besieged the house of Dr. 'Alaa' al-Rafati, Dean of Commerce School at the Islamic University near the Blood Ban in Gaza City. They kidnapped al-Rafati's brother, 36-year-old Mohammed, the Imam of al-'Abbas Mosque in the city. They took him to a place near Ansar seceurity compound in the west of Gaza City, where they shot him dead with several gunshots to the chest, the abdomen and the limbs.
Soon after, the situation in Gaza City deteriorated and armed clashes broke out between Fatah and Hamas movements. A number of people were also kidnapped by militants who erected checkpoints in the streets. A number of those who were kidnapped were fired at, whereas the destiny of the others has remained unknown.
At approximately 18:00 on Sunday, militants who erected a checkpoint in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood kidnapped 'Omar Zakaria al-Sharif, 20, and Mahmoud Abu Rabee', members of the Palestinian National Security Forces. At approximately 21:00, the militants dumped al-Sharif near the car market in the east of Gaza City, after they had fired at his feet, whereas Abu Rabee's destiny has remained unknown.
At approximately 18:30 also on Sunday, militants positioned near Shifa Hospital in Gaza City kidnapped Eihab Ibrahim al-'Absi, 23, a member of Fatah movement from al-Shati refugee camp. They transported him to al-Nasser Street where they fired at his feet and pushed him out of their car.
At approximately 19:30, a number of militants kidnapped Mohammed Ahmed al-Khaldi, 23, a worker at Dar al-Arqam Press, in al-Remal neighborhood. They took him to al-Saraya intersection, where they fired at his right leg.
At approximately 21:00, militants kidnapped 3 persons in Tal al-Hawa neighborhood in the south of Gaza City: Mohammed Ziad Zaqqout, 22; Anas Fu'ad al-Haj, 20; and Hussam Abu Qainas, 35. The militants took Zaqqout and al-Haj to Gaza Beach and fired at their feet. They took Abu Qainas to the roof of Haniya building near the Ministry of Finace. They shot him to the head and pushed his body down onto the street.
During these bloody clashes between Fatah and Hamas movements, 7 civilian bystanders were wounded.
PCHR strongly condemns the bloody internal fighting between Fatah and Hamas movements, and:
1. Holds the two movements fully responsible for any damage to the educational process, warns of the consequences of the continuation of fighting on Twajihi students, and stresses that there no justification to sacrifice the educational process and push students into disgraceful fighting and a conflict over authority.
2. Calls upon the Palestinian President and Government to fulfill their responsibilities, and to take immediate steps to restore order and security, and to protect civilians from the effects of these disgraceful clashes.
3. Calls for a serious investigation into all these incidents, and for the prosecution of the perpetrators regardless of their identity.
4. Calls for the withdrawal of all forms of militancy from streets, intersections, and residential buildings, including members of security forces and militias, as continued militant presence threatens the lives of innocent civilians.