New Fatah splinter group shoot, wound accused collaborators

An armed Palestinian splinter group on Tuesday released two Gaza men it had abducted after accusing them of collaborating with Israel, but not before shooting both in the legs as punishment. The Knights of the Tempest, a new group within the ruling Fatah party, grabbed the men last week in the latest sign of lawlessness in the territory that Israel quit last month following 38 years of occupation. The Knights, who displayed their captives hooded and bound at a press conference shortly after seizing them, said they had also placed the men under house arrest for nine months, confiscated their identity cards and barred them from using the telephone. A spokesman for the group, Abu Anan, said it had acted because Palestinian security forces had failed to bring suspected collaborators to justice during a five-year-old uprising. “We requested several times that the Palestinian Authority chase and punish collaborators. But when all our calls were wasted, we had to act,” he said. Abu Anan added that the group had consulted with Muslim clerics before meting out the punishment. He said the two had made a “full confession during their detention” to providing information to Israel about militants. But he did not give details. The Palestinian Interior Ministry, which following the abductions vowed not to allow any fto take the law into its own hands, had no immediate comment. Armed groups have previously executed Palestinians accused of being part of Israel’s informant network, sometimes in public, especially if the information they provided led to deaths. The Palestinian Authority has also sentenced to death dozens of Palestinians convicted of collaborating with Israel, but only three have been executed over the past decade. Earlier this month, Palestinian gunmen briefly abducted an American reporter and a British photographer before releasing them unharmed. BPI-info