Palestinian Authority Prime Minister Ismail Haniyeh cut short a visit abroad Wednesday after gunmen killed a judge from his Hamas movement on the fourth consecutive day of factional violence in the Gaza Strip.
A Hamas statement accused President Mahmoud Abbas’ Fatah Party of sending a police “death squad” to ambush Judge Bassam Fara on his way to work. As Hamas vowed to avenge the slaying, Abbas deployed Fatah-led troops to Gaza City, feeding expectations of a wider conflict.
The rival movements’ police units and militias have been skirmishing on and off since Hamas, an Iranian-backed Islamist movement, unseated the more moderate Fatah in elections last January and took control of the parliament and Cabinet.
Wednesday’s slaying was the first in the latest flare-up that either group publicly has blamed on the other.
Pinochet grandson ousted from army
The grandson of Gen. Augusto Pinochet was discharged from the army Wednesday after causing an uproar with his eulogy denouncing judges who had tried the late Chilean dictator.
Capt. Augusto Pinochet Molina, 34, defended his grandfather’s bloody 1973 coup at his funeral Tuesday and said judges who later sought to prosecute him were seeking “notoriety, not justice” – a comment that brought applause from mourners and censure from the president.
Army Gen. Oscar Izurieta said the announcement that Pinochet Molina had been discharged was delayed 24 hours out of “respect to his family.”
President Michelle Bachelet – herself once imprisoned under the dictatorship – called the younger Pinochet’s comments “an extremely serious offense” because it is an attack against a branch of government.
She said she expected the army to take “necessary measures” to punish Pinochet Molina, but his father, also named Augusto, said he was already planning to leave the army.
U.N. will send team to Darfur
The U.N. Human Rights Council, under strong pressure to act against atrocities in Darfur, voted Wednesday to send a team of investigators to the war-torn region of western Sudan to report on civilian deaths, rapes, mass flight and destruction of villages.
However, the resolution stopped short of mentioning any role of the Sudanese government or the militias it is accused of supporting in attacks on civilians.
Meeting in an emergency session, the 47-nation council unanimously passed a resolution expressing “concern regarding the seriousness of the human rights and humanitarian situation in Darfur” and calling for a team of five “highly qualified persons” plus the U.N.’s expert on rights in Sudan to look into the atrocities.
The U.N. has called the Darfur conflict the world’s worst humanitarian crisis. More than 200,000 people have been killed and more than 2.5 million driven from their homes in the three-year fight between the government and ethnic African rebels.