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Monday, April 11, 2005

Hamas "Morality Police" murder young woman in Gaza

There seem to be way too many Arabs who feel that murdering Jews is moral but a woman walking with her fiance in public is immoral.

A little topsy-turvy, but one gets used to that in the Middle East.

Hamas has begun operating a "vice and virtue commando" in the Gaza Strip to safeguard Islamic values, Palestinian security officials and residents told The Jerusalem Post.

The new force, called the Anti-Corruption Unit, is believed to be behind the gruesome murder over the weekend of Yusra al-Azzami, a 22-year-old university student from the northern Gaza Strip.

Her "crime" was that she was seen in public with her fiance .

Although "honor killings" are not a new phenomenon in Palestinian society, the perpetrators were almost always relatives of the victims. But this is the first time that one of the Palestinian groups has openly acted against a woman suspected of "immoral behavior."

Hamas's "morality" patrolmen first spotted the young couple strolling along the beach in Gaza City, together with Azzami's younger sister. After enjoying the spectacular sunset over the sea, they got into the future husband's car and started driving towards Azzami's home.

According to eyewitness accounts, five masked gunmen who were in another car gave chase, opening fire at Azzami, who was sitting in the front seat next to her fianc . She died instantly.

The fiance and sister were later brutally beaten and moderately injured by the attackers.

The incident took place at a busy intersection in Gaza City.

What happened immediately afterwards left many passersby traumatized.

The assailants dragged the young woman's body out of the car, pouncing upon it mercilessly with clubs and iron bars.

"It was the most horrific crime I've seen in my life," said a university student who witnessed the attack. "What they did to the body while it was lying on the ground was barbaric. This does not represent Islam." The student, who asked not to be named, said he and several other people at the scene were too afraid to interfere. "We waited until the gunmen left the area before we called the police and an ambulance," he added.

The Palestinian Authority police, who have since arrested two suspects, confirmed that the attack was carried out by Hamas vigilantes who have been waging a campaign of intimidation against people exhibiting un-Islamic behavior.
Update: Hamas apologizes for the murder.