Date: 01 April 2006
Time: 11:00 GMT
PCHR Condemns the Clashes between Palestinian Gunmen and Security Personnel in Gaza City
On Friday, 31 March 2006, Gaza City witnessed armed clashes between members of the Popular Resistance Committees and members of the Palestinian Security Forces, resulting in the death of 3 people and the injury of 36 others, including 3 seriously injured. The clashes erupted following the death of El-Abed El-Qouqa, commander of the Naser Salah El-Deen Brigades, who was killed in an earlier explosion in Gaza City.
The events started in the morning hours with the death of El-Abed El-Qouqa, the commander of the Naser Salah El-Deen Brigades (the armed branch of the Popular Resistance Committees, PRC). El-Qouqa was killed by an explosive-laden car that was detonated as he was walking beside it in the western part of Gaza City. The PRC accused Palestinian security forces and Fatah leaders of killing El-Qouqa.
Armed clashes erupted between gunmen of the Naser Salah –el-Deen Brigades and Palestinian security personnel in Wahda Street in Gaza City. Two bystanders were injured. The situation escalated, and clashes ignited near the Sheikh Radwan Cemetary. Three people, including one child were killed and 34 were injured, 3 of them seriously.
Sources in Shifa Hospital in Gaza City informed PCHR’s fieldworker that El-Qouqa was pronounced dead on arrival. He was killed by shrapnel injuries sustained throughout the body and his body was badly burned from the explosion.
After El-Qouqa’s death, the PRC spokesman, Mohammad Abdel Al (Abu Abir) accused Palestinian security of committing the murder, pointing out a number of figures including: Mohammad Dahlan (Palestinian Legislative Council Member), Samir El-Mash’harawi (Fatah leader), Rashid Abu Sh’bak (Director of the Preventive Security Apparatus) and Tariq Abu Rajab (Director of General Intelligence).
At approximately 14:00, armed clashes took place between PRC members and guards from the house of Samir El-Mash’harawi, located near the location where Abu Abir was holding the press conference. Two bystanders were injured and taken to Shifa Hospital for treatment. After this incident a large number of Preventive Security troops, responsible for guarding Mash’harawi, closed off the area around the house.
Naser Salah El-Deen gunmen clashed with members of the Preventive Security forces and the guards of Nabil Tammous, an officer in the Preventive Security forces. The clashes took place during the funeral procession of El-Qouqa to the Sheikh Radwan Cemetary, near Tammous’s house. The clashes continued for several hours.
The clashes resulted in 3 deaths: a PRC member, one of Tammous’s guards, and a child. Thirty-four people sustained injuries, 3 of them seriously. The 3 dead victims were:
– Hisham Abu Taha (27), a PRC member from Rafah;
– Seif El-Deen Mohammad Ahmad El-Halis (37), a preventive security member and guard at Nabil Tammous’s house. He was killed by a bullet to the head; and
– Sadat Abu Hamda (15), a resident of Gaza City who was killed as he was passing through the area.
Medical and police sources in Shifa Hospital informed PCHR’s fieldworker that 36 injured were admitted to the hospital for treatment. The majority of the injuries were moderate but 3 were classed as very serious.
PCHR strongly condemns these clashes, and:
– points to the serious concern over the continued misuse of weapons by armed Palestinian groups and security personnel, which serves to deepen the state of security chaos;
– stresses that these incidents are a continuation of the ongoing security chaos in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), caused by the lack of serious legal measure taken by the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) to confront these incidents;
– calls upon the PNA, represented by the Attorney General, to investigate these crimes, and to bring the perpetrators to justice; and
– calls upon all Palestinian factions and armed groups to adopt dialogue and reject violence and arms as means of resolving internal disputes, and to avoid harming civilians.
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