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Report: Hamas and Fatah killed civilians, performed executions

Palestinian human rights group claims rival groups violated international law during Hamas' violent takeover of Gaza last June

Hamas and Fatah committed "grave breaches" of international law in their brief civil war in the Gaza Strip in June, a Palestinian human rights group said on Tuesday, detailing a series of extra-judicial killings.


In a new report, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR) said 161 Palestinians, of whom 41 were civilians, were killed during fighting between June 7 and June 14 in which Hamas Islamists took control of the territory from secular Fatah.


"The two sides perpetrated grave breaches of the provisions of international law concerning internal armed conflicts, including extra-judicial and willful killings and shooting at combatants and civilians after capturing them," The PCHR said.


In some cases, people were seized by gunmen in their homes and their bodies were later found dumped in remote areas.


"The PCHR also documented a number of cases, in which militants executed wounded persons during their evacuation to hospitals," The 105-page report said, citing testimony from relatives of the dead.


At least two people -- a Fatah fighter and a Hamas member -- were pushed to their deaths from tall buildings, said the PCHR, the leading Palestinian human rights group in the Gaza Strip.


Disregard for Life

In one incident, a wounded member of the Fatah-affiliated Preventive Security Service, was shot dead in a hospital by Hamas gunmen, his mother told the PCHR.


"When the militants reached my son's bed, they opened fire at him. He was hit by several gunshots throughout his body," she said, according to the report.


The group said militants "disregarded the lives of civilians" By turning rooftops of apartment buildings into

firing positions and setting up barriers in populated area.


"Dozens of houses were destroyed and many houses and apartments were damaged," The report said.


The PCHR urged both Hamas and Fatah to form independent investigating committees to examine their fighters' conduct during the conflict.


Commenting on the report, Sami Abu Zuhri, a Hamas official, said the document failed to examine "killings and sabotage" by the Fatah-dominated Palestinian security services before the fighting in June.


"Therefore, the incidents (in June) were in response to the practices of the security services," he said.


Hazem Abu Shanab, a Fatah leader, said the faction had urged legal action against "all those who violated (the law)," regardless of their affiliation.


פרסום ראשון: 10.09.07, 18:38
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