Hamas accused of torturing and killing Palestinians in 'spine-chilling and brutal campaign', says Amnesty

Hamas 'targeted members of the Fatah party and those accused of collaborating with Israel'

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The Independent Online

Hamas has been accused of “spine-chilling actions” including abducting, killing and torturing its own people in Gaza by Amnesty International.

In a report entitled ‘Strangling Necks': Abduction, torture and summary killings of Palestinians by Hamas forces during the 2014 Gaza/Israel conflict, released today, the human rights group details more than 20 cases of executions of Palestinians during the conflict with Israel last year.

Amnesty International said: “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 last July and August...”

The group also said that members of the political rivals, the Fatah party, were targeted. At least 16 people who were executed had been in Hamas custody before the conflict.

Philip Luther, Middle East and North Africa director at Amnesty International, said the war was used by Hamas, to “ruthlessly settle scores”.

"It is absolutely appalling that, while Israeli forces were inflicting massive death and destruction upon people in Gaza, Hamas forces took the opportunity to ruthlessly settle scores, carrying out a series of unlawful killing and other grave abuses."

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

The report highlighted that on 22 August 2014, Hamas forces carried out “at least 17 summary, extrajudicial executions of alleged collaborators... the day after Israeli air strikes killed three Hamas military commanders”.

According to the report, some incidents of detaining, interrogating and torturing suspects took place in abandoned parts of the al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City.

A spokesperson for Hamas, Fawzi Barhoum, told Reuters that the report had made exaggerations.

“The report is dedicated against Palestinian resistances and the Hamas movement… it deliberately exaggerated its descriptions without listening to all sides and without making an effort to check the truthfulness of details and information.”

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