Second judge in one week murdered
For the second time in one week, a judge was murdered today in broad daylight by unknown assailants in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis. Bassem el-Farra, who happens to be a relative of ours on my mother's side of the family, was on his way to the Shari'a Court where he works when four gunmen sprayed him with bullets, only two days after the gruesome killing of the three children of a senior Fateh intelligence chief.
Hamas has accused the so-called "death squads" of Fateh for the attack again el-Farra, who is also a senior leader within Hamas's Izz-e-din il-Qassam Brigades.
Fateh supporters have blamed Hamas for the surge in lawlessness in recent days, an accusation which Hamas flatly rejects.
"It's strange that the situation intensified after Fatah announced that unity government talks are at a stand- still," said Palestinian Interior Minister Said Siyam to Palestinian papers.
According to Siyam, internal security is the responsibility of not only the interior minister and the government, but of Abbas as well, who is considered the commander-in-chief of the Palestinian security forces.
"The recent kidnapping of journalists and many of the recent violent incidents were actually carried out by Fatah. We (Hamas) on the other hand, fired operatives who were involved in aberrant incidents," Siyam explained.
"Our requests to the Fatah-affiliated security forces to detain the operatives responsible for the kidnapping were rejected, and Fatah continues to support them," he added.
Three days ago, another judge, Jamal Abu Salim, was killed in the same area.
Amidst the chaos, both sides have noted the absence and silence of Palestinian president Mahmoud Abbas, demanding he make his voice heard and come to Gaza to quell rising fears of civil unrest.