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Israel rights group urges Hamas to investigate, try alleged war criminals

[JURIST] Israeli human rights group B'Tselem [advocacy website] called Monday for Hamas leaders in Gaza to investigate and bring to trial anyone who may have committed war crimes [press release], citing reported incidents of violence against children and civilians during last week's fighting between Hamas [party website; ICT backgrounder] and Fatah [party website] in the Gaza Strip. In their plea, B'Tselem referred to the death of a 28-year-old Fatah affiliated Presidential Guard member who was captured by Hamas, bound, and thrown from the top of a high rise building. B'Tselem also cited the summary execution by gunshot of a member of Fatah leadership in northern Gaza, and the stabbing death of a Fatah military leader which was broadcast on Hamas television.

The fighting in Gaza prompted Palestinian President Mahmous Abbas [BBC profile; JURIST news archive] to swear in a new government [BBC report] with emergency powers that excludes Hamas members. Abbas decreed that new Prime Minister Salam Fayyad [BBC profile] may rule without parliamentary approval, a move which former Prime Minister Ismail Haniya [BBC profile] said was illegal. As a result of the exclusion of Hamas from the government, the US and the European Union restored funding and diplomatic ties [BBC report] to the Palestinian government. Haaretz has more.

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