Daily Archives: May 27, 2015

Amnesty International report accuses Hamas of killing members and supporters of Fatah.

A Hamas militant grabs a Palestinian suspected of collaborating with Israel, before being executed in Gaza City August 22, 2014.

A Hamas militant grabs a Palestinian suspected of collaborating with Israel, before being executed in Gaza City August 22, 2014.

Hamas forces carried out a brutal campaign of abductions, torture, and unlawful killings against Palestinians accused of “collaborating” with Israel and others during Operation Protective Edge last year, according to a report published on Wednesday by Amnesty International.

The report reveals that Hamas carried out at least 23 extrajudicial executions during the war. Some of the executions were documented at the time by Palestinian journalists and photographers, prompting Hamas to halt the public killings.

Entitled “Strangling Necks: Abduction, torture and summary killings of Palestinians by Hamas forces during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict,” the Amnesty International report accuses Hamas of killing members and supporters of Fatah.

“It is absolutely appalling that, while Israeli forces were inflicting massive death and destruction upon the people in Gaza, Hamas forces took the opportunity to ruthlessly settle scores, carrying out a series of unlawful killings and other grave abuses,” said Philip Luther, director of the Middle East and North Africa Program at Amnesty International.

“In the chaos of the conflict, the de facto Hamas administration granted its security forces free rein to carry out horrific abuses, including against people in custody. These spine-chilling actions, some of which amount to war crimes, were designed to extract revenge and spread fear across the Gaza Strip.”

The report said that many of the unlawful killings were publicly billed as attacks against people assisting Israel during the war, as part of an operation codenamed “Strangling Necks” to target “collaborators.”

According to the report, at least 16 of those executed had been in Hamas custody since before the war erupted. “Many had been awaiting the outcome of their trials when they were taken away from prison and summarily executed,” it added.

The report said that among those executed were also former members of the Palestinian Authority security forces.

One of them was Atta Najjar, a former PA policeman suffering from a mental disability, who was serving a 15-year prison sentence imposed by a military court that found him guilty of “collaborating” with Israel.

On August 22, 2014, he was taken out from the prison and executed.

Najjar’s brother is quoted in the report as saying that there were “marks of torture and bullet wounds on his body. His arms and legs were broken and his body was as if you’d put it in a bag and smashed it. His body was riddled with about 30 bullets. He had slaughter marks around his neck, marks of knives. And from behind the head – there was no brain. Empty.”

“Not a single person has been held accountable for the crimes committed by Hamas forces against Palestinians during the 2014 conflict,” Amnesty International points out in its report.

“Instead of upholding justice, the Hamas authorities and leadership have continuously encouraged and facilitated these appalling crimes against powerless individuals,” Luther said. “Their failure to even condemn the unlawful killings, abduction, and torture of perceived suspects leaves them effectively with blood on their hands.”

He added: “The Hamas leadership repeatedly calls for rights and justice for Palestinians. But they do not always act in a manner that reflects respect for rights, justice, and the rule of law. By failing to halt such grave violations, the Hamas authorities are dragging the name of justice through the mud and condoning these appalling crimes.”

Advertisements

Breaking : Israel Launches Airstrike on Gaza After Rocket Attack

Israeli aircraft struck a handful of targets in Gaza early Wednesday morning (local time) in retaliation for a rocket attack Tuesday.

“Following yesterday’s rocket attack against #Israel, #IDF aircraft attacked 4 terrorist locations in southern #Gaza.” Israeli Defense Force Spokesman Peter Lerner said on Twitter at about 9:30 p.m. EDT Tuesday.

A rocket fired from the Gaza Strip landed near the Israeli port city of Ashdod earlier on Tuesday, but no casualties or damage were reported, police and the military said.

Israeli officials said they held Hamas responsible for the attack, which was the longest-range militant rocket strike since a truce that ended a 50-day war last year.

It was unclear if there were any casualties from the Israeli airstrike.

Meanwhile, Amnesty International said in a report on Tuesday that Hamas committed war crimes against Palestinian civilians in the Gaza Strip during last year’s war with Israel.

A ceasefire last August ended 50 days of fighting between Gaza militants and Israel in which health officials said more than 2,100 Palestinians, mostly civilians, were killed. Israel put the number of its dead at 67 soldiers and six civilians.

“Hamas forces carried out a brutal campaign of abductions, torture and unlawful killings against Palestinians accused of ‘collaborating’ with Israel and others during Israel’s military offensive against Gaza,” the human rights group’s report said.

In a previous report in March, Amnesty also criticized Israel and accused it of war crimes during the conflict. Apart from the many deaths, at least 16,245 homes were destroyed or rendered uninhabitable. Gaza militants fired thousands of rockets and mortars at Israel.

Al-Shabaab gunmen kill 25 policemen in Kenyan ambush

Al-Shabaab gunmen killed around 25 Kenyan police on Monday, ambushing some officers in a village in the east of the country after others died when their vehicle hit a landmine planted by the militants.

The Islamist group also burnt five vehicles in the two incidents.

Some 20 police died in the village ambush, which occurred on Monday evening in Yumbis, 45 miles north of the town of Garissa, the ‘Standard’ and ‘Daily Nation’ newspapers said.

Police spokesman Masoud Mwinyi confirmed there had been an attack in Yumbis. Other government officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

Al-Shabaab, which has carried out several attacks in Kenya in recent years to try to force Nairobi to withdraw its troops from Somalia, attacked a university in the same area last month and killed 148 people.

The officers were ambushed as they went to assist other police who had been targeted by an explosive device, believed to be a landmine or roadside bomb.

“The area is on the remote side of Garissa not far from the border, that is why we are having a problem getting information instantly,” said a police officer based at the county headquarters. “What we know, however, is that several officers have been killed.”

Garissa County has remained volatile with numerous attacks since last month when four Al-Shabaab militants stormed Garissa University College, killing 142 students and six security force members during a day-long siege.

The latest attack in Garissa County came just days after extra Kenyan security forces were deployed in the area to strengthen security after a series of raids by gunmen from the Somali-led Al-Qaeda branch.

Also last week, Al-Shabaab militants briefly took control of a mosque in Garissa, delivering a hardline sermon to captive worshippers, before leaving.

Once a Somalia-focused insurgency, Al-Shabaab has in recent years turned its attention to Kenya, demanding it withdraw soldiers that were deployed to Somalia in 2011, and launching a series of attacks, including the 2013 assault on Nairobi’s Westgate mall that killed at least 67 people.