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Monday, January 2, 2006
Palestinian Centre for Human Rights: Unknown Armed Persons Blow up UNRWA Beach Club in Gaza and Others Kidnap and Italian Citizen in Khan Yunis

Palestinian Centre for Human Rights
Press Release

Ref: 01/2006
Date: 2 January 2006

Time: 11:00 GMT

Unknown Armed Persons Blow up UNRWA Beach Club in Gaza and Others Kidnap and
Italian Citizen in Khan Yunis

On Sunday morning, 1 January 2006, unknown armed persons blew up UNRWA Beach
Club in Gaza City. The club and a nearby site of the Palestinian Civil
Defense were severely damaged. A few hours later, another armed group
kidnapped a member of a European Parliament delegation visiting Khan Yunis.
PCHR is concerned that the ultimate goal of such crimes is to convulse the
internal security and security to cancel or interrupt the upcoming elections
or hold them under unfair conditions.

According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 02:00 on
Sunday, 1 January 2006, unknown armed persons got out of a civilian car that
has no registration plate and attacked and handcuffed the guard of UNRWA
Beach Club. Then, they broke into the club, planted two explosive devices
and blew them up by remote control. The roof was destroyed, and offices,
meeting halls, the kitchen, the video library, the gymnasium hall, the
cafeteria and the bar were severely damaged. The wall separating between
the club and a neighboring site of the Palestinian Civil Defense was also
destroyed and the hydraulic stairs used for extinguishing fire and a water
pump were damaged. Perpetrators and reasons of the attack are still

It is worth noting that the Beach Club, which was established in the 1950s,
serves UNRWA international and local staff. However, the international
staff members no longer go to it at night due to the current security
situation in the Gaza Strip. UNRWA has increased the level of danger up to
little below the maximum level and has instructed its international staff
members whose work does not require their presence in the Gaza Strip to
leave it towards Jerusalem and carry out their duties from there. This
decision has been taken in light of the kidnappings of a number of workers
of international humanitarian and relief organizations and journalists in
the past few months.

At approximately 11:30 on the same day, 3 armed members of the al-Aqsa
Martyrs Brigades kidnapped Alissandro Bero, 26, under gunfire in Khan Yunis.
Bero was among an 18-member delegation of the European Parliament visiting
the office of the election campaign of the Third Way List headed by the
former Minister of Finance, Salam Fayad. At approximately 16:30, a unit of
the Palestinian Preventive Security was able to free the hostage from
al-Mawasi area without being hurt.

These latest attacks have come in the context of the ever deteriorating
internal security in the Gaza Strip, including killings, attacks on public
and private property and the kidnappings of internationals by Palestinians
armed groups, which alarmingly escalated in the second half of 2005. Before
the kidnapping of Bero, 17 internationals had been kidnapped in 9 separate
incidents. Even though all hostages were released without being hurt, such
crimes reflect the state of security chaos and attacks on the rule of law in
the Palestinian National Authority (PNA) controlled areas. The kidnappers
in all these incidents have not been prosecuted even though their identities
are known. PCHR has even evidence that the PNA even succumbed to the
kidnappers' demands in a number of these cases.

These crimes damage the just cause of the Palestinian people and have
contributed to the evacuation from the Gaza Strip of people who provide
great services to the Palestinian people and support their struggle,
including staff of the United Nations, the International Committee of the
Red Cross and other humanitarian agencies, journalists and human rights
workers. Such crimes serve the Israeli efforts to limit the presence of
internationals in the Gaza Strip in order not to be witnesses for crimes
committed by Israeli Occupation Forces against Palestinian civilians.

PCHR strongly condemns these latest attacks:

1. PCHR expresses its utmost concerns that this continuous escalation
is planned and seek to cancel the upcoming parliamentary elections or hold
them under unfair conditions.
2. PCHR holds the PNA responsible for the escalation in such attacks
at it has failed to search for the perpetrators of these crimes and bring
them to justice.
3. PCHR calls upon the PNA to take effective measures, in accordance
with the law and human rights standards, to put an end to this phenomenon
and other forms of security chaos.
Public Document
For more information please call PCHR office in Gaza, Gaza Strip, on +972 8
2824776 - 2825893
PCHR, 29 Omer El Mukhtar St., El Remal, PO Box 1328 Gaza, Gaza Strip.
E-mail: pchr@pchrgaza.org, Webpage http://www.pchrgaza.org
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