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Thursday, July 7, 2011     INTELLIGENCE BRIEFING

Palestinian human right center protests crackdown on Al Qaida demonstrators

RAMALLAH — The Palestinian Authority continues to quell unrest by pro-Al Qaida elements in the West Bank.


PA security forces have blocked demonstrations by Al Qaida supporters in the West Bank. Human rights groups said the PA has imposed tight restrictions on the activities of the Hizb ut Tahrir movement, regarded as one of the largest Islamic opposition movements in the area.

"The mistreatment included arrests, beatings and opening fire," the Palestinian Center for Human Rights said.

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On July 2, Hizb, not known to have formal ties to Al Qaida, held a commemoration throughout the West Bank. PCHR said Palestinian security forces used live fire, tear gas and truncheons to disperse Hizb demonstrations in such cities as Hebron, Nablus, Ramallah and Tulkarm. About 200 Hizb activists were said to have been arrested.

In Hebron, PA police and security forces injured about 20 Hizb supporters. PCHR said the PA deployed the police, supported by the National Security Forces, surrounded the Hizb activists and dispersed a march from a Hebron mosque toward the city square.

"Without prior warning, they dispersed the peaceful demonstration by firing tear gas canisters directly at the demonstrators," PCHR said. "They also chased the demonstrators through the streets and beat some of them. Some of the demonstrators scuffled with the police members, which resulted in dozens of arrests."

PA security forces also cited a Hizb demonstration in the northern city of Nablus. PCHR said PA plainclothes officers attacked the marchers while two officers opened fire toward the demonstrators. At least six people were reported injured.

Hizb demonstrators were also beaten and shot at the entrance of Ramallah. At least 170 Hizb members who entered the city were arrested.

"PCHR stresses that civilians have the legal right to organize public assemblies and to organize peaceful demonstrations in accordance with the law," the Palestinian center said.

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