Fatah accuses Hamas of ‘assassination attempt’ on its official in Gaza

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A senior official with the Palestinian party Fatah was badly beaten up in the Gaza Strip on Monday, with the group accusing the strip’s rulers Hamas of responsibility.

Hamas denied the claim and pledged to investigate the attack, which comes amid days of violent crackdown by its security forces on protests in Gaza.

Atef Abu Seif, spokesman for Fatah in Gaza and a member of its central committee, was beaten by a group of men near his home in the enclave, the official Fatah-aligned Palestinian news agency Wafa said.

Pictures posted on Wafa showed Abu Seif with a bandaged head and leg, with his clothes speckled with blood.

Mahmoud Aloul, deputy chairman of Fatah, accused Hamas of carrying out an assassination attempt.

Iyad al-Bozum, spokesman for the interior ministry in Gaza, condemned the incident, telling AFP “the police are investigating the attack”.

Hamas, which has controlled Gaza since seizing it from Fatah in 2007, has faced a series of protests in recent days over rising prices.

Security forces have responded by violently breaking up gatherings, with dozens of journalists, rights workers and others arrested.

The United Nations on Sunday condemned the response, and on Monday Amnesty International said its local researcher had been detained for several hours by Hamas.

“The crackdown on freedom of expression and the use of torture in Gaza has reached alarming new levels,” Saleh Higazi, deputy Middle East and North Africa director at Amnesty.

“Over the past few days, we have seen shocking human rights violations carried out by Hamas security forces against peaceful protesters, journalists and rights workers.”

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