Hamas Crackdown on Gaza Protests Instills Fear

Hamas Crackdown on Gaza Protests Instills Fear

Hamas accused the West Bank-based Palestinian Authority, led by Fatah, of orchestrating the protests in a “vicious scheme” to create chaos and insecurity to harm the armed struggle against Israel.

Gaza’s Health Ministry, which has assiduously reported on the nearly 200 Palestinians killed and thousands wounded by Israeli troops during often-violent protests along the fence dividing Gaza from Israel, has not reported the number injured by Hamas in quelling the protests. No deaths have been reported.

Journalists and photographers were barred from covering the Gaza protests and human rights workers were among those beaten and detained, though grainy cellphone video documented some of the violence.

The Hamas police raided the home of a journalist, Osama al-Kahlout, who had shot photographs of the protests. Two members of the Independent Commission for Human Rights, a Palestinian watchdog group, were in his house at the time, taking testimony. The pair were forced into the street, beaten with batons and punched by dozens of security officers, according to their organization. Mr. al-Kahlout was detained.

Taif al-Bhaisi, 20, a citizen-journalist for the Gaza-based Sharq news agency, began live-streaming the protests near her home in the Deir al-Balah refugee camp in central Gaza, then ran into her house after Hamas forces began attacking the protesters. There, she continued filming with her cellphone.

The next day Hamas forces raided her house, assaulted young and old and broke the arm of one woman, she said. About five masked Hamas officers tried to confiscate her phone and beat her with batons, breaking her arm, she said. Photos of her with her arm in a splint were widely circulated among Gaza residents, prompting outrage.

The novelist and Fatah spokesman Atef Abu Saif was transferred to a hospital in Ramallah in the West Bank, apparently having been severely beaten and suffering from a fractured skull and broken hands and legs.

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