Date: 04 January 2006
Time: 12:30 GMT
Two Citizens Killed in a Family Quarrel in Khan Yunis and Gunmen Raid Public Institutions in Rafah
The past 48 hours witnessed bloody clashes between two families in Khan Yunis. Two citizens were killed, and 6 others, including 5 children, were injured. Armed members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, affiliated to the Fatah movement, attacked a number of public institutions in Rafah, attempted to close Rafah International Crossing Point and attempted to kidnap the parents of Rachel Corrie.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, on Monday morning, 2 January 2006, a quarrel broke out between school children from the al-Masri and Taha families at a school in Khan Yunis. The quarrel developed into an exchange of fire between the two sides after school had finished and members of the two families became involved in the quarrel. Three children from the al-Masri family were injured by live bullets.
On Tuesday morning, 3 January 2006, armed clashes between the two families were renewed. As a result, Suleiman Mohammed al-Masri, 24, was killed by a live bullet to the neck, and a member of the Abu Taha family was injured in the back. At approximately 20:00 on the same day, clashes broke out between the two families again. The families used hand grenades and firearms in these clashes. The clashes which continued until the following morning left Jihad Ibrahim al-Masri, aged18, dead. He was hit by a live bullet to the chest.
On Wednesday morning, 4 January 2006, clashes broke out between the two families in the Jourat al-Lout area, where the families live. Two children were injured by live bullets. Tension has spread and the Palestinian police have not yet intervened to end the clashes.
Last December, a similar family quarrel erupted in Beit Hanoun. It left 7 people dead and injured at least 40 others, including 5 children. These incidents reflect the state of security chaos in the Occupied Palestinian Territory and the failure of the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to take effective measures to stop such incidents.
On Wednesday morning, 4 January 2006, chaos spread across the Rafah area as members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades attempted to close Rafah International Crossing Point. They also attacked a number of public and private institutions in the town, including the Municipality of Rafah, the Ministry of Interior, the office of the Palestinian Legislative Council, the office of the Central Election Commission, the Electricity Company, the Ministry of Religious Endowments and the Ministry of National Economy. Additionally, an armed group attempted to kidnap the parents of Rachel Corrie, who was killed by a bulldozer of Israeli Occupation Forces in Rafah in March 2003, while she was attempting to stop house demolition. The Corries are visiting the Gaza Strip to express solidarity with the Palestinian people. They visited PCHR on Tuesday. The kidnapping attempt failed and the parents were not hurt. These incidents took place after the PNA had arrested ‘Alaa’ al-Hams, 33, from Rafah, accusing him of kidnapping Kate Burton, a British citizen, and her parents last week. The protestors demanded the PNA to release al-Hams.
PCHR is gravely concerned at the ongoing state of security chaos, and strongly condemns family quarrels and the use of weapons:
1. PCHR calls upon the PNA to fulfill its obligations to ensure public order and the security of citizens and to enforce the rule of law.
2. PCHR calls upon the Attorney General to investigate these incidents and bring the perpetrators to justice.
3. PCHR calls upon national parties to confront the state of security chaos and make efforts to enforce the rule of law.