Saturday, September 1, 2007

First Fatah attack on Hamas since takeover; Hamas breaks up prayers

The DPA and local news sources reported the first Fatah violent attack of revenge on Hamas since the Hamas takeover June 14,

"An explosion in southern Gaza city on Saturday ripped through the car of a member of the Gaza Strip's ruling Hamas movement, which has been running the enclave since June, Hamas sources said.

The sources said the blast has completely destroyed the vehicle which was parked in front of the home of the owner, whom the sources did not identify.

The incident took place following a day of clashes between the Hamas police force and supporters of rival Fatah movement whom Hamas drove from power on June 14.

Fatah, led by President Mahmoud Abbas, started to hold weekly Friday prayers outside mosques, protesting Hamas incitement against them."

Few journalists are able to film the events that are taking place in Gaza without permission from Hamas; here are some images that were captured. Depicted is Hamas security members detaining Fatah members who on Friday gathered to worship in a downtown square in Gaza City because they do not feel welcome within Hamas-run mosques.

On August 27th, the Palestinian Center for Human Rights provided the following report of Hamas detentions of Fatah members.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, on Saturday morning, 25 August 2007, the Executive Force arrested 15 residents of al-Daraj neighborhood in the east of Gaza City to interrogate them about their participation in the prayer conducted in the Unknown Soldier Yard in Gaza City on the preceding day, and the demonstration that followed. Fatah movement had called for doing the Friday Prayer in the Unknown Solider Yard, in protest to what it described as “the incitement and politicization of religious preaches at mosques.” According to a number of released detainees, they were beaten and humiliated during their detention at al-Saraya security compound. They were also forced to sign a document pledging not to participate in any activities organized by Fatah movement and not to give any information to the media, and if they break this pledge, they must pay 3,000 JD (approximately US$ 4,285).

In the same context, the Executive Force arrested 3 residents of the same neighborhood on Sunday morning, 26 August 2007. They were also beaten, humiliated and forced to sign the same pledge.

In his testimony to PCHR, one of the released detainees stated:

“At approximately 04:15 on Saturday, 25 August 2007, many members of the Executive Force broke into the yard of our house and arrested my brother who got out to check what was going on. They then ordered me and my other brothers to get out. As soon as I got out, they handcuffed, blindfolded and violently beat me. They placed me in a jeep and then transported me to al-Saraya compound. During our way to al-Saraya compound, they continued to beat me. I sustained fractures to my left hand and upper jaw. In al-Saraya security compound, they interrogated me about my participation in the Friday prayer and the demonstration that followed. During the interrogation, they beat and insulted me. They then forced me to sign a document pledging not to participate in demonstrations and activities organized by Fatah movement and not to talk to the media, and if I violate this pledge, I must pay 3,000 JD. They released me and my brothers at approximately 09:00 on the same day.”