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Wednesday, March 23, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Hamas uses security agency for 'the dirty work'
in Gaza Strip

GAZA CITY — A Hamas security agency has been assigned the lead role in the regime's crackdown on unrest in the Gaza Strip.


Palestinian sources said Hamas's Internal Security Service has led the assault on the protest movement in the Gaza Strip. They said ISS officers were responsible for many of the assaults on journalists and other dissidents believed linked to the mass demonstrations in March.

"ISS has been modeled on the security services of Egypt and Syria and does the dirty work for the regime," a Palestinian source said.

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[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 one."

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 Services, 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 demonstrations.

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.

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