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Hamas-Fatah ceasefire comes after bloody week
PCHR welcomes the new ceasefire agreement announced yesterday between Hamas and Fatah under the sponsorship of the Egyptian Security Delegation. At the same time, the Centre calls upon the PNA to form a judicial commission of inquiry into the clashes, which included willful killing and other crimes, so as to bring the perpetrators to justice.
Since the afternoon of Saturday, 19 May 2007, a state of tense calm prevails in the Gaza Strip, especially Gaza City, after the announcement of the agreement between both parties. Roadblocks were removed; and gunmen from both sides withdrew from most streets and rooftops.
It is noted that the last three days witnessed a continuation of the fierce clashes between Fatah and Hamas in Gaza City. Hundreds of gunmen from both sides were deployed in residential areas, set up roadblocks on main and side streets, and used residential buildings in combat operations. This included firings bullets and rockets from rooftops or from the vicinity of residential buildings, in a manner that posed serious threat to the lives of civilians, and terrorized them.
From Thursday, 17 May, till Saturday, 19 May, nine people were killed, including a child and two women. One of the women died of wounds sustained earlier. Tens were injured during the same time frame. Thus, the total number of people killed during the recent internal fighting increased to 47. Many of the victims were killed in incidents of willful killing after they were abducted by gunmen, or were killed because of their political affiliation.
PCHR's preliminary investigation indicates that in the afternoon of Thursday four people were killed in Rafah, including a woman and a child. Twenty-five others were injured. At approximately 13:00, armed clashes erupted between members of the Preventive Security Apparatus and Hamas gunmen during the funeral procession of four members of the Executive Force and Izzedeen El-Qassam Battalions who were killed by Israeli shelling and in internal fighting. The clashes erupted as the procession passed near the Preventive Security Compound in Rafah. The clashes resulted in the death of three people, including a child, by bullets to the head. Fifteen others were injured. The people killed are:
# Mahmoud Hasan Mo'ammar (22), a member of the Preventive Security Apparatus.
# A'ed Abdel Qadir Abu Zeid (21), a member of the Executive Force.
# Abdallah Abed Jarghoun (14), a child who died of his wound on Friday (18 May).
At approximately 15:00 on Thursday, masked gunmen fired at a vehicle near the park in Shaboura refugee camp in Rafah. Fadwa Ayesh Younis, a 22-year-old woman, was injured by a bullet to the chest. She died of the injury in Mohammad Yousef El-Najjar Hospital shortly after arrival.
At approximately 21:00 on Thursday, an explosive device planted by unknown gunmen near Jawhara building in Gaza City exploded, killing Wasim Ramadan El-Masri (26), a member of the National Security Force from Beit Lahia. Two others were injured by the explosion.
At approximately 14:30 on Friday, 18 May, Samir Mahmoud El-Amoudi (40) from Beach Camp was killed by a bullet to the head as he was passing near Bakri building in the western part of Gaza City. He was killed during clashes between Fatah and Hamas in the area.
At approximately 17:00 on Friday, medical sources at Shifa Hospital in Gaza City announced the death of Najah Saleh Qandil (60) from Tal El-Hawa Quarter in Gaza City. She was injured by a bullet in the right hand on Wednesday, 16 May, near her residence in Sa'ada building during clashes between Fatah and Hamas in the area.
In an isolated barely field, located just few hundred meters away from the Israel-Gaza border line in eastern Rafah city, a heap of barely lies in the middle of the field. The field is now abandoned -- why? Not because there are no farmers in the area, but rather because the Loulahi family, who had been harvesting barely, were hit by Israeli missiles.
Samah, the daughter, was killed, and Ahmad, the son, killed as well. The father Sulieman was wounded, while A'isha, 19, is being treated at the nearby European Hospital after sustaining shrapnel wounds to her leg.
With her pale and yellow face, while surrounded by relatives and friends, the simple Rafah farmer spoke out with a sadness and bitterness which she would have never felt unless the Israeli missiles hadn't killed her "soul."
Despite her pain, A'isha spoke out: "It was 6:30 pm. We were harvesting the barely near the Sufa crossing, the sun was setting, while myself, my father and my brothers and sisters were all bending down in our field.
"My father asked us to leave our brother Mohammad in the car. We left the field, then the Zannana [unmanned drone plane] fired a missile that hit us directly," Aisha says.
"My father rushed to us and called for the ambulance, then another missile was fired. I kept dragging my body until I arrived at our house and asked help from the neighbors, then a third missile was hit. By then, I heard people saying, 'the car was went off' and I learned that my sister Samah and my brother Ahmad were killed, while my father was injured," A'isha recalls.
"There were no gunmen near us, it's our field, we come here everyday to harvest the barely. Why did they hit us? What is our fault?" A'isha wonders, while sighing bitterly at the loss of her family.