Amnesty International: Hamas carrying out 'deadly campaign' against opponents in Gaza
Some two dozen men accused of collaborating with Israel or criticizing Hamas targeted, group reports.
Amnesty International group on Tuesday accused Hamas of carrying out a "deadly campaign" against its Palestinian opponents and critics in the Gaza Strip, particularly those they accuse of "collaborating" with Israel.
"Hamas forces in the Gaza Strip have carried out a deadly campaign of abductions, killings, torture and death threats against those they accuse of 'collaborating' with Israel, as well as opponents and critics," the human rights group wrote in its latest report, released on Tuesday.
"At least two dozen [Palestinian] men have been shot dead by Hamas gunmen and scores of others have been kneecapped, beaten or otherwise tortured or ill-treated," according to the report.
The rights group said that most of the victims were kidnapped from their homes and then released, either dead or wounded, in isolated areas or in local morgues. Others were shot dead at the hospital while being treated for their wounds, according to the report.
Amnesty International succeeded in gathering testimonies from a number of victims, but said many others refused to come forward for fear of retribution from Hamas.
In its report, the rights group urged Hamas to "immediately end the campaign of abuses" and to allow an impartial force into the Gaza Strip to investigate the allegations."
Tensions between Hamas, who seized control of Gaza in a bloody 2007 coup, and opponent groups such as Fatah have flared again in the wake of Israel's 22-day offensive on the Gaza Strip. The sides have held negotiations on reconciliation, but to little avail.
Amnesty's findings come in the wake of numerous media reports and quiet complaints by Fatah activists of similar instances.
Late last month, Hamas announced that it had begun reasserting control in the Gaza Strip and rounding up suspected collaborators with Israel, drawing accusations from the rival Fatah group that its members were being targeted.
"The internal security service was instructed to track collaborators and hit them hard," said Ehab al-Ghsain, spokesman of the Hamas Interior Ministry, without singling out Fatah members by name.
"They arrested dozens of collaborators who attempted to strike the resistance by giving information to the occupation about the fighters," he said, using a Hamas term for Israel.