Deadly narco violence in Gaza Strip

The Hamas-run ministry of interior in the Gaza Strip will appoint a committee to investigate clashes June 6 between police and suspected drug dealers in Beit Lahiya. The committee will be headed by Hamas-affiliated lawmaker Ismail al-Ashqar, who is in charge of a security and interior committee of the Palestinian Legislative Council in the Gaza Strip. The ministry explained in a statement that a man who was shot dead in the morning in Beit Lahiya was trying to mediate between police officers and the suspects. Muhammad Salman Abu Sittah was hit, according to the ministry, by a gunshot from the direction of the house where the suspects were hiding. The statement described Abu Sittah as “a martyr who fell trying to reconcile between rivals” and asserted that his death would not be in vain. “The killer will be identified and will receive proper punishment.”

Initial investigations revealed that drug police of the northern Gaza Strip were notified about a family hiding large sums of drugs and Tramadol pills in its house, the ministry said. Police obtained a search warrant from north Gaza’s DA, headed to the destination and detained a suspect. However, as the officers stepped out, family members gathered and started to verbally abuse the officers while others hurled stones from the roofs of buildings. 

Police officers retreated and started to fire into the air before Abu Sittah arrived and started to talk with the officers trying to help them and make peace. Shortly after that gunshots were fired at the officers from the family house and Abu Sittah was hit and killed, according to the government’s account.

From Ma’an News Agency, June 6