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Amnesty International: Hamas harmed Palestinians

LONDON (JTA) — Amnesty International issued a report detailing Hamas violence against Palestinians during Israel’s military operation in the Gaza Strip.

In its report, the human rights organization states that at least two dozen men were shot dead by Hamas gunmen, and many more were kneecapped or otherwise tortured during and after Israel’s military operation. It also confirms media reports that some victims had been executed in hospitals where they were being treated for wounds.

Amnesty International sent a fact-finding team to the Gaza Strip once the cease-fire was in force.

Responding to the report, Hamas spokesman Fawzi Barhoum said, “Maybe some of them were killed because they were acting against the population, against the resistance."

Barhoum added that certain assassinations, like that of the Hamas interior minister, Said Siyam, could not have been carried out without intelligence provided by spies.

However, human rights organizations documented cases of execution and the torture of supporters of Fatah, the party led by Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas.

In one such incident detailed in the report, Hamas forces took in for questioning Osama Atallah, a teacher and public supporter of Fatah. The following day a local hospital called his family to say he was in critical condition. He later died.

Fatah officials said Atallah was punished "because of his public and continued criticism of the performance of the Hamas militias in Gaza." They accused Hamas of "severely torturing and then strangling" Atallah.

Hamas officially endorses the killing of collaborators, but denies allegations that it executes political rivals. 

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