Gunmen kill Arafat media adviser
- Gunmen kill Arafat media adviser
BBC News Online
2 March 2004
Unknown gunmen have shot dead the media advisor of Palestinian
leader Yasser Arafat outside his office in Gaza City.
Khalil al-Zaben, a prominent journalist who also advised Mr Arafat
on human rights, was struck by a dozen bullets, local Palestinian
The killing comes amid fears of growing lawlessness and chaos in
Palestinian areas and eroding central control.
In the West Bank, Israeli forces killed an unarmed Palestinian
during what they described as an arrest operation.
Relatives quoted by Reuters news agency said the man was gunned down
after troops surrounded his house and ordered him to come out.
An army spokeswoman said the man had fled the building and had not
responded to soldiers' commands in Arabic for him to stop.
In the aftermath of the Gaza attack, Palestinian officials did not
comment on a possible motive.
The local union of journalists has condemned it and demanded an
Mr Zaben, 59, was a veteran journalist who ran a Palestinian
Authority-funded magazine as well as giving Mr Arafat advice.
He died soon after being brought to hospital following the shooting
just before midnight (2200 GMT) on Monday.
"We strongly condemn the assassination of veteran journalist Khalil
al-Zaben and urge the Palestinian Authority to intervene immediately
to find the perpetrators," said Tawfiq Abu Khoussa, deputy chairman
of the Palestinian Journalists' Union.
AP news agency reports that Mr al-Zebin became an Arafat ally in the
1960s and returned to Gaza along with the Palestinian leader and
other exiles in 1994, under the terms of Israeli-Palestinian interim
Two of his brothers are Palestinian ambassadors in South America and
his son works as an airline pilot there, the agency says.
He is also survived by his wife and three daughters.
On Friday, the mayor of Nablus resigned amid escalating infighting
between armed militias in the West Bank's largest city.
A policeman was killed at Gaza police headquarters when armed groups
opened fire on each other after one of them had struck the police
Correspondents say there is concern about the possibility of Gaza
descending into anarchy following a future planned Israeli pullout.
Journalists in Gaza staged a strike on 9 February to protest against
growing attacks on reporters in the Palestinian territories:
Three weeks ago, newspaper journalist Munir Abu Rizeq reported that
his car had been torched in Gaza City
In early February, the offices of the Palestinian weekly Ad-Dar were
vandalised during the Muslim holiday of Eid al-Adha
On 8 January, a Gaza correspondent for the Arab television station
al-Arabiya was beaten up by masked men; the station's offices in the
West Bank town of Ramallah were attacked last September by masked
men claiming to belong to the al-Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades group
During the three-year intifada, or uprising, Israel has frequently
attacked Palestinian police and security installations severely
impairing the power of Mr Arafat's security forces.
Israeli army raids northern Gaza Strip
2 March 2004
GAZA, March 2-- An Israel Army force on Tuesday stormed into
Al-Sudanya area, north of the Gaza Strip, Palestinian security
Eyewitnesses confirmed that the Israel Army force comprising of tens
of tanks and military bulldozers had broken into the area amid heavy
shooting before stationing near the northeast shores of the Gaza
Meanwhile, the Palestinian general security services said that the
Israel Army forces stationed near Beit Hanoun had opened fire
towards the houses at the late hours on Monday, causing severe
material damages and states of panic among the residents.
Web: www.iap.org - email: iapinfo@...
Palestinians Fear Gaza Chaos After Rare Rape-Murder
Mon Mar 1, 2004 By Nidal al-Mughrabi
GAZA (Reuters) - Palestinians Monday demanded the execution of four
men for the rape and murder of a Gaza girl of 16, a rare sex crime
that has deepened fears of a slide into lawlessness accelerated by
the conflict with Israel.
"Human wolves," the Palestinian daily al-Ayyam headlined in reference
to the arrested suspects in a case that has shocked the Palestinians'
conservative Muslim society, where rape has long been a taboo topic.
Gazans knew that the girl was abducted as she left school last
September and found strangled 48 hours later in a garbage bin. But
investigators did not confirm until Friday, when they announced the
arrest of the suspects, that she had been raped.
"Death to the filthy killers!" chanted at least 4,000 Palestinians,
including hundreds of students and militants firing rifles into the
air, in a rally at a seaside refugee camp near the family home of the
slain teen-ager, Maiada Abu Lamdi.
"We are asking the Palestinian Authority to implement the law of
Allah -- let the killers' hands and legs be cut off and let the
killers be hung in public!" they shouted.
In the 1990s, a Gaza police officer was executed by firing squad for
the rape of a boy after the news of his deed provoked riots demanding
that he be put to death.
Colonel Majed Abu Shammala, Gaza's chief criminal investigator, said
the suspects in the girl's case, all taxi drivers aged 22 to 24, had
confessed under questioning and were charged with rape and murder.
They were jailed pending trial.
Families of two of the suspects have publicly disowned them over the
crime to avoid stigma and possible revenge attacks.
Abu Shammala said that in general, solving sex crimes was difficult
because victims and families preferred not to talk or undergo legal
procedures for fear of public shame.
He said scores of possible witnesses and suspects were questioned
before the arrests were made.
PUBLIC ORDER UNRAVELLING
Palestinians are grappling with a breakdown in law and order they say
has been accelerated by Israeli army raids. Israel says the raids are
to pre-empt Palestinian militant attacks, but Palestinians say they
have also crippled their security services.
Armed gangs, often drawn from militant groups fighting Israel in an
uprising and sometimes from the security organs themselves, have been
behind a sharp rise in robbery, extortion, abductions and murder in
the cities of Gaza and the West Bank.
"We are following cases of abuse of weapons, especially official
weapons, in family feuds and the settling of accounts," said Hamdi
Shaqoura of the Palestinian Center for Human Rights.
"We don't want to worry about our children as they play in the street
and go to school," a refugee woman told Reuters as Monday's protest
march passed by her house.
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmed Qurie called at a meeting of the
dominant Fatah movement's Revolutionary Council last week for a
crackdown on the militia gangs, but no action was decided.
President Yasser Arafat has come under growing public fire for a
system of competing security organs that critics say is designed to
prevent independent challenges to his rule -- but which has also sown
disorder in the streets.
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