Palestinian Vigilante Killings on the Rise

(AP/Washington Post) Mohammed Daraghmeh - The number of Palestinians slain in vigilante killings and other internal violence has nearly quadrupled in four years, from 43 in 2002 to 151 so far in 2005, according to statistics presented Thursday. A top security official said more Palestinians were killed in internal violence this year than by Israeli troops. Some Palestinian security commanders have become warlords, using the men under their command for personal gain or illegal enterprise, such as weapons deals or extortion. In many cases, policemen are moonlighting as gunmen in militias. The overlap is particularly pronounced in the Al Aqsa Martyrs' Brigades, which has ties to Fatah. Abbas' security chief, Interior Minister Nasser Yousef, argues he can't fight crime without a political decision to confront militants. "When Hamas keeps its military wing, then Fatah will say, we have the right to do the same," said Yousef's spokesman, Tawfiq Abu Khoussa.

2005-10-07 00:00:00

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