palestinian women 88.
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Three Palestinian women have been murdered in the Gaza Strip in the past 24 hours, Palestinian Authority security officials and local residents said.
The bodies of the women were discovered early Tuesday in the northern part of the Gaza Strip. The motive for the killings remained unclear.
One of the victims, a 35-year-old mother of four, was found near the beach. She had been shot at least 13 times in different parts of her body, said a PA security official.
The other two women were killed separately and their bullet-riddled bodies were discovered late Monday.
The security official said he did not rule out the possibility that the three women were killed by male relatives in the context of what is known as "honor killings." Such killings are not unusual among Palestinians and many Arab countries. At least 25 women are murdered every year in the West
Bank and Gaza Strip for "bringing shame" on their male relatives.
Female activists in the Gaza Strip expressed deep concern over the latest spree of murders and urged the Hamas-led government to take measures against the perpetrators.
"We are living in a jungle," said Siham Aladdin, who works for a local women's organization. "The Palestinian police aren't doing anything because they are afraid of the families and because they 'understand' the motives."
In other scenes of lawlessness and anarchy in the Gaza Strip, unidentified gunmen detonated an explosive charge outside the home of Dr. Ali Sharif, a lecturer at the Hamas-affiliated Islamic University in Gaza City. No group claimed responsibility, but local reporters said the attack was clearly linked to the power struggle between Fatah and Hamas.
In Rafah, Hamas gunmen kidnapped Raed Kashtah, a 25-year-old Fatah activist. No reason was given for the abduction.
The latest incidents occurred as Hamas and Fatah representatives announced that a new Palestinian unity government could be formed as early as next week. However, the two sides continued their war of words on Tuesday.
Fatah leaders in the Gaza Strip strongly condemned statements made by Hamad al-Rakab, a top Hamas official in Khan Yunis. Rakab was quoted as accusing the PA security forces of firing many policemen for political reasons.
"Hamas leaders have been making statements that jeopardize the Mecca agreement," said a Fatah spokesman, referring to the "national unity" deal that was reached in Saudi Arabia earlier this month.
The Fatah spokesman accused the Hamas-run Ministry of Agriculture of firing nearly 1,000 Palestinian guards who were working in the greenhouses that once belonged to Jewish settlers in the Gaza Strip.
"The guards were dismissed so that they could be replaced by Hamas workers," he charged.
Senior Fatah operative Muhammed Dahlan told Palestinian reporters Tuesday that he did not believe that the proposed unity government would be able to restore law and order to the PA-controlled areas.
"We have many militias and warlords on the streets," he said. "We need to reconstruct the Palestinian security forces on an independent and professional basis."