The Palestinian Center of Human Rights in Gaza (PCHR) issued a strong condemnation on Saturday to the Friday attacks that left six Palestinian killed in Gaza and also condiment the Hamas led government in Gaza response to the attack.

The fowling is the PCHR statement:

PCHR strongly condemns the heinous crime perpetrated by unknown elements yesterday in Gaza that resulted in killing 6 people, including a 4-year old girl, and injuring 27 others.

The crime was perpetrated by a directed explosive device in a beach-front café crowded with Hamas members and supporters.

At the same time, PCHR strongly condemns the immediate reaction of the Government in Gaza and its security forces against supporters and institutions of the rival Fatah party, as if Fatah was behind the crime. This reaction included arresting dozens of Fatah activists as well as raiding and closing tens of civil society organizations, benevolent societies, and sports clubs affiliated with Fatah.

The Center’s preliminary investigation indicates that at approximately 20:25 on Friday, 25 July, an explosive device went off in El-Hilal Café on the Gaza City beach. It is a café usually frequented by Hamas activists and supporters. The explosion killed 6 people vacationing on the beach; all of them from Gaza City.

One of the killed was a 4-year old child; and the other 5 were Hamas members. In addition, 27 people sustained injuries. Police sources informed PCHR that the explosive device was directed and was placed inside the café; and that it contained metallic shrapnel 10 – 12 millimeters in length.

Sources in Shifa Hospital in Gaza City identified the victims as:

1. Serien Ismail Ahmad El-Safadi (4)

2. Nihad Mohammad Hussein Mesabeh (27)

3. Tamer Sa’id El-Helou (33)

4. Eyad Abd El-Hamid Ismail El-Hayya (32)

5. Nidal Khalil Zeyad El-M’bayed (37)

6. Hasan Mohammad Roshdi El-Helou (28)

The identity of the party behind the crime is not yet known. However, the Government in Gaza and its security forces embarked, immediately after the crime, on a series of steps against Fatah members and institutions and other civil society organizations affiliated with Fatah, as if Fatah was behind the crime.

Since yesterday evening till now, security forces is conducting an arrest campaign against Fatah supporters.

Police sources informed PCHR that approximately 160 people were detained by the Internal Security Apparatus throughout the Gaza Strip. They are being held and questioned in Gaza Central Prison in Gaza City. PCHR’s fieldworkers indicated that the arrests were concentrated in the Northern Gaza Strip and in Gaza City; and that the number of detainees is much more than the officially declared number; since dozens of detainees are held by the Police and were not transferred to Gaza Central Prison.

The Police raided and closed Fatah offices and tens of civil society institutions throughout the Gaza Strip.

Preliminary information indicates that the Police raided more than 40 office, sports club, benevolent societies, cultural centers, and development agencies.

The Police confiscated the belongings of these organizations and took them to undisclosed locations. In addition, the Police took over the Governorate Offices in Central Gaza, Khan Yunis, and Rafah; noting that the Governorates are a governmental institution answerable to the President’s office.

Although most targeted organizations are considered affiliated with Fatah, the raids also targeted organizations such as the Palestinian Council for External Relations, a civil society organizations run by independent PLC member Zeyad Abu Amr, whom Hamas supported in the last parliamentary elections.

In addition, the office of the National Work Commission in Gaza City was raided. The Commission is composed of PLO factions and is headed by Fatah leader Dr. Zakaria El-Agha.

PCHR reiterates its condemnation of the heinous crime, and:

– Warns against the implications of climbing down a dark tunnel that will lead to further fragmentation and internal divide, with the price paid by the Palestinian people and their national cause.

– Expresses surprise at the swift response of the Government in Gaza immediately after the crime as if Fatah was proven to be involved in the crime.

– Calls for a comprehensive and independent investigation into the crime to determine the perpetrator in order to prosecute them and so as to publicize the findings.

– Condemns the arbitrary actions by security forces against Fatah supporters and tens of organizations in the Gaza Strip.

– Condemns the arrests against Fatah supporters; affirming that the Centre has always condemned mass arrests; and calls for the immediate release of the prisoners and for respecting legal procedures regulating arrests.

– Affirms that the right to form associations is guaranteed by the Palestinian Basic Law and international human rights standards; and that the steps taken to close and confiscate tens of institutions is a flagrant violation against civil society. The Centre calls for reopening these organizations and returning their belongings.

– Calls for refraining from dragging civil society in the ongoing power struggle between Fatah and Hamas; and renews the affirmation of the independence of civil society and the importance of its role in the provision of essential social, economic, development, and cultural services.

Note: attached is a list of targeted organizations by the Government in Gaza:

Northern Gaza Strip:

1. Jabalia Service Club

2. Life and Hope Association in Jabalia refugee camp

3. Fatah Headquarter in the Northern Gaza Strip

4. North Association for Social Development in Beit Lahia

5. Beit Lahia Development Association

6. Educations Enrichment Association in Beit Lahia

7. Capacity-Building Center of the Association for the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped in Beit Lahia

8. Renaissance Assocation in Beit Lahia

Gaza City:

9. Palestinian Center for External Relations

10. Our Sons Association for Development in Beach Camp

11. Generations Association for Creativity and Development in Tuffah Quarter

12. National Work Commission

13. Fatah Office of Ayman Joudah Groups

14. General Union of Palestinian Students

Central Gaza Strip

15. Deir El-Balah Service Club

16. Governorate of the Central Gaza Strip

17. Hitten Benevolent Society

18. Freedom Sun Association

19. Palestinian Commission for Development and Culture

20. Cultural and Social Development Association

21. Local Association for Social Development

22. El-Maghazi Association for Local Development

23. El-Maghazi Association for the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped

24. Yasour Benevolent Society

25. Buds of Hope Association

26. Student Welfare Association

27. Communication Forum

28. National Association for the Rehabilitation of the Handicapped

29. El-Maghazi Municipality (old office)

30. El-Manal Association for Women’s Development

31. Union of Women’s Committees

Khan Yunis:

32. Khan Yunis Governorate

33. Buthaina Hijjo Association in Amal Quarter

34. El-Awda Benevolent Association in Khan Yunis

35. Young Scientists Forum

36. Palestine Tear Association

37. Youth Dawn Association

38. Watan Association for Folklore and Family Development

39. Khuz’a Agricultural Center

Rafah:

40. Collective Center for Public Service (Collective Sports Club)

41. Popular Committee for Refugees

42. Fatah Office in Khaled El-Hasan Area

43. Youth Forum Office

44. Rafah Service Club

45. Rafah Governorate

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