[On March 23, Palestinian gunners fired a rocket from the Gaza Strip
that landed in the central Israeli city of Ashdod, Middle East Newsline reported. Later, two Palestinian
rockets also landed in the southern city of Beersheba.]
The sources said ISS, formally operated by the Interior Ministry, was
similar to Egypt's Special Investigations Service, disbanded in March in
wake of the ouster of President Hosni Mubarak. They said the Hamas agency
was arresting and beating everybody from students to union activists and
journalists in an effort to quell the demonstrations.
"They took me out of the bus and violently beat me, focusing on my legs
and knees," a student arrested by ISS said. "They then took me into the bus
again and dumped me near the university. I was taken to a hospital in
Jabalya as I sustained a fracture to the left knee and a bruise to the right
The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said ISS was employed in the
escalation of the Hamas crackdown on dissent. The center said ISS has been
raiding the offices of major news organizations, including Reuters and
French television in Gaza City.
"At about 13:30 [1:30 p.m. on March 19], 10 persons carrying sticks and
clubs, who introduced themselves as officers from the Internal Security
stormed the office of Reuters News Agency on the 9th floor of Bsaisu
building near the Unknown Soldier Yard," the center said on March 21. "They
attempted to confiscate a camera from the office. When staff members of the
office protested, the security officers violently beat them and crushed
three television sets and four computer sets."
ISS operates several prisons in the Gaza Strip, including Ansar. The
sources said ISS was also intimidating universities to prevent all student
On March 16, ISS arrested and interrogated 13 young men who demonstrated
in support of unity between Hamas and the rival Fatah movement. Several of
the detainees were said to have been beaten.
"They were also forced to sign an oath not to participate in any
gathering that is not licensed by the government in Gaza, and they were
released in the evening," the center said.