Palestinian gunmen rampage through Gaza medical centre

Published: 1 July 2005
Briefing Number 147

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Summary: This Briefing describes a recent rampage by 70 Palestinian gunmen through a medical centre in the Gaza Strip, and pinpoints key messages.

On 15 June, scores of unidentified Palestinian gunmen went on the rampage inside a medical centre in the Gaza Strip, destroying furniture, computers and other equipment (source: Jerusalem Post, 17 June 2005). The medical centre is run by Jalilah Dahlan, wife of Palestinian Authority Civil Affairs Minister Muhammed Dahlan. Dahlan has clashed in the past with senior Palestinian security figures in the Gaza Strip, and commentators speculated that the attack may have been linked to those tensions.

Jalilah Dahlan commented: “This attack reflects a state of anarchy and lawlessness which endangers the lives of people…. About 70 gunmen raided the hospital, shooting in the air and destroying everything in their way….”

Dozens of hospital workers and political activists staged a demonstration outside the medical centre the day after the attack, to demand that PA security forces take real steps to end the chaos in the Gaza Strip.

Key lessons

This episode epitomises the lawlessness and anarchy prevalent in the Gaza strip, from which Israel is due to pullout completely in a matter of weeks.

It also demonstrates the disregard shown by armed Palestinians groups for the basic humanitarian needs of their fellow Palestinians.