Armed clashes resumed this morning between members of Hamas and Palestinian Security Forces and a state of tension prevails throughout Gaza.
Events started at 0700 yesterday, Thursday the 14th of July, after a group of al Qassam Brigades, the military wing of Hamas, launched missiles from the northern Gaza Strip into Israel. After launching the missiles they retreated but came into contact with Palestinian police and clashes broke out -- leaving five Hamas members injured. All of the injured were transferred to Kamal Odwan hospital in Beit Lahiya in the northern Gaza Strip. Two of them were seriously injured and transferred to Shifa hospital in Gaza City.
In the aftermath of these events armed members of Hamas attacked several sites of the Palestinian security services in the northern area. A heavy exchange of fire was reported between the two sides. Three members of the security services were injured and taken to Shifa. The injuries were moderate. Two vehicles from the Military Intelligence and a site belonging to the National Security were set on fire. Another vehicle, belonging to the Preventative Security was hijacked.
During these events, at about 2200, an unknown vehicle, which was driving extremely fast in the Northern area of the Gaza Strip, hit a child Memdouh Mohammad Hasbullah, 16 years old from Jabalya Refugee Camp. He was hit while walking with some friends in a street in the eastern area of Jabalya Town. He was transferred to Kamal Odwan hospital but soon pronounced dead.
This morning, at about 0530, on Friday the 15th of July, clashes resumed between Hamas members and the Palestinian security forces in al Sabra neighbourhood in the Centre of Gaza City. These clashes, which lasted for several hours resulted in the killing of two children, one of them identified as Mohhammad Hassan al 'Amariin, 14 years old from Gaza City. He was shot in the head. The other is still unidentified according to medical sources. 43 people, from both sides as well as civilians were injured (23 from the security, 14 from Hamas and the remainder civilians). 3 of the injuries have been described as critical.
Later on this morning civilians in al Sabra neighbourhood attacked the security forces with stones and set fire to a number of security forces' vehicles.
During the preparation of this Press Release clashes had been halted and relative quiet had returned to the streets. However a state of tension prevails on the streets of Gaza City. Great numbers of Palestinian security forces have been deployed across Gaza City.
PCHR, strongly condemns these clashes:
1. Calls upon the 2 parties to immediately stop resorting to armed attacks and to open the possibility for dialogue, PCHR condemns any attempt to terrify civilians and turn residential areas into war zones as these events have resulted in extensive death, injury and destruction;
2. Demands the formation of a national, independent, commission to investigate the events, including the investigation the circumstances of the death of three children, and that the killers, whoever they are, must be brought to justice;
3. Is concerned by an order issued by the Ministry of Interior and National Security, on July the 7th, which states clearly that weapons may be used against those who do not follow the orders by the security forces -- PCHR is concerned that such an order may open the door to disproportional use of force due to the absence of clear and strict open-fire regulations;
4. PCHR calls on all National and Islamic Forces to intervene immediately in order to put an end to this deterioration and to stop the state of tension and related provocation which threatens that the situation may explode again at any moment.
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