Gaza activist and Hamas critic in serious condition after attack

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The family of well-known Gaza activist Amin Abed, who has been openly critical of Hamas, has accused the militant group of assaulting him.

Mr Abed, 35, was in critical condition in a hospital in northern Gaza after being attacked on Monday while walking home. His father, Salah Abed, confirmed the attack to The National on Tuesday.

Hamas had not commented by Tuesday afternoon.

The assault came less than a month after Mr Abed talked to the Palestinian Wattan News Agency about “the pain of seeing our youth of country being killed under the slogan of resistance. This empty slogan”.

“This isn’t what resistance should look like,” Mr Abed said.

His father said Mr Abed is in hospital and in critical condition, suffering from fractures in his legs and arms.

A witness to the assault also confirmed to The National details of the attack.

“What happened to Amin was that 20 masked men grabbed him near Al Fakhoura School, close to his home in northern Gaza, and dragged him to an area about 100 metres away on Monday evening,” the witness said.

“The masked men beat Amin on the street for more than half an hour using the ends of their weapons and boots, taking advantage of the deserted streets due to the significant destruction in the area by the occupation forces over the past months.”

The witness told The National that several women who were nearby heard the sound of Mr Abed’s screams and tried to stop the masked men, but were told the attackers were “internal security” and warned not to interfere.

Mr Abed had helped organise protests in 2019 over perceived harsh economic conditions under Hamas rule and taxes it had imposed. Gaza has been under an Israeli and Egyptian blockade since Hamas seized power in 2007. More recently, Mr Abed criticised the Hamas-led October 7 attack on Israel that triggered the war.

“Amin paid the price for the truth and was assaulted because he was trying to uncover facts and stand up for the oppressed homeland and its citizens,” Mr Abed’s father said. “He was attacked while walking towards our home, beaten with sticks, batons and knives, and arrived at the hospital in a very difficult condition.”

Members of the security personnel run by Hamas in the Gaza Strip, who maintained a high degree of public order before the war, have largely vanished from the streets after being targeted by Israeli strikes, but the militant group still exerts control of the territory. Criminal gangs and other armed groups have exploited the breakdown of law and order, robbing aid convoys and further complicating humanitarian efforts.

“Hamas’s policy of silencing dissent will not succeed in quieting Amin or any other voice opposing what Hamas has done to the people, leading to disaster,” his father told The National.

Karim Jouda, one of Amin’s friends, told The National the attack has aggravated those in the besieged Gaza Strip who are not afraid to speak up.

“I felt intense anger when I saw his picture [of him in hospital] while I was in the south of Gaza,” Mr Jouda said. “All my life, I used to see him standing in the camp and everyone loves him and he serves everyone.”

Updated: July 09, 2024, 4:06 PM