Fatah: Hamas tortured senior official to death

Hamas Interior Ministry denies claims, says Bassam Anani died as a result of a kidney disease.

hamas fatah great 248.88 (photo credit: AP)
hamas fatah great 248.88
(photo credit: AP)
Fatah said over the weekend that one of its senior officials in the Gaza Strip had been tortured to death by Hamas's security forces. The man, Bassam Anani, 40, was a leader of Fatah in the Nusseirat refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Fahmi Za'arir, a Fatah spokesman in the West Bank, said Anani, a father of five, was arrested more than a month ago by Hamas's security forces, who tortured him while he was in detention. "They beat him severely," Za'arir said, referring to Hamas. "Anani was subjected to various brutal methods of torture." The spokesman said that Anani was later hospitalized at the Shifa Hospital in Gaza City for two weeks until he died over the weekend. "This crime is added to a series of crimes that have been committed by Hamas against Fatah members in the Gaza Strip," Za'arir added. "This crime proves that Hamas is determined to thwart any attempt at reconciliation and unity among our people." Za'arir did not say why Hamas had arrested Anani. However, he claimed that the torturers used a drill to make holes in his body before injecting him with an unknown lethal substance. The Hamas-controlled Interior Ministry in the Gaza Strip denied the charges and claimed that the Fatah man died as a result of a kidney disease. "Anani did not die in jail because he was never arrested," the ministry said, accusing Fatah of spreading "false allegations." The ministry said that all those who were in Hamas-controlled prisons were suspected of involvement in criminal and security-related offences. Thousands of Fatah supporters, chanting anti-Hamas slogans, attended Anani's funeral Saturday. Eyewitnesses said the mourners came under fire when they passed near the home of Abu Hamzeh al-Khatib, a top member of Hamas's armed wing, Izaddin Kassam. No one was hurt. Another Fatah operative, Sami Khattab, 35, died shortly after he was detained by Hamas last April. Khattab was a former officer in the Fatah-dominated General Intelligence Force. Fatah officials said he too had been brutally tortured while in detention.