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IOF Escalate War Crimes in the West Bank, Killing 6 Palestinians in 2 Days

Ref: 06/2007

Date:  04 February  2007

Time: 08:00 GMT


IOF Escalate War Crimes in the West Bank, Killing 6 Palestinians in 2 Days

Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) have escalated their war crimes in the West Bank over the past two days, killing 6 Palestinians in 4 separate crimes. Two were killed resisting an IOF incursion into Nablus. A third was killed in an extra-judicial execution in Tulkarm. A child was killed due to excessive use of force in Qalandia refugee camp, north of Jerusalem. And two Preventive Security operatives were killed in Beitunia, west of Ramallah. In addition, two children and an Islamic Jihad activist were injured in these crimes.

PCHR’s preliminary investigation into these crimes indicates that at approximately 2:10 on Thursday, 1 February 2007, an IOF force moved into the old city in Nablus. A number of Palestinian activists resisted the incursion in the Khan El-Najjar area. The IOF force surrounded two of the activists, and injured them by gunfire. Ambulances were not allowed to move in to save the wounded, who bled to death. The IOF force withdrew from the city at approximately 6:10 on the same day. Ambulances moved to the scene and took the bodies of the dead activists to Rafedia Hospital. The dead are:

1-     Amer Bassam Mohammad Kalbona (21), hit by bullets in the back and abdomen; and

2-     Wa’el Khamil Saleh Awad (21), hit by bullets in the back and hand.

On the morning of the same day, IOF troops deployed near Qalandia checkpoint, north of Jerusalem, fired at the child Taha Mohammad Sobhi El-Qeljawi (17), who was a resident of the old city in Jerusalem. He was hit by bullets in the legs, and was left to bleed to death. An IOF spokesman stated that “soldiers fired at the lower extremities of a Palestinian youth trying to cross the Wall.” Palestinian medical sources indicated that the injuries the boys sustained initially were moderate and not life-threatening; however the soldiers left him to bleed in his place.

At approximately 16:30 on the same day, an undercover IOF unit moved into Tulkarm refugee camp using a vehicle with Palestinian license plates. Near the southern entrance of the refugee camp, three civilian-clothed persons and a fourth in military clothes got out of the car. They came near three people standing in the place, and opened fire at them. The child Rafiq Mowafaq Heikal Dumeiri (16) was injured by a bullet in the right thigh. Jaser Nader Ahmad Abu Zugheib (24) was hit by a bullet to the chest and fell on the ground. The attackers dragged Zugheib on the ground, fired 5 more bullets at him from point blank range, and put him a vehicle. He died in the vehicle. Zugheib is an activist in Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, an armed wing of Fatah. A third Palestinian was seriously injured by a bullet to the chest. He is Amer Mahmoud El-Baraka (25), an activist in Al-Quds Battalions (armed wing of Islamic Jihad). Regular IOF troops arrived at the scene and evacuated the undercover unit. In addition, they abducted the body of the dead and injured activists. A 10-year old bystander was also injured by a bullet in the right leg: Mahmoud Zaki Mohammad Qozah.

At approximately 2:40 on Friday, 2 February 2007, an IOF infantry force moved into the town of Beitunia, west of Ramallah. They surrounded the Modern College building. A resident who saw suspicious movement called the Preventive Security Apparatus. A patrol was dispatched to the area. IOF troops fired instantly when two Preventive Security officers entered the building. They were killed instantly. Israeli forces later announced that they killed two Palestinian security personnel:

1-     Khaldoun Juma Taleb Shuman (30) was killed by bullets to the head; and

2-     Mohammad Atta Abdel Qadir Abu Arab (34) was killed by bullets to the chest.

PCHR is concerned over the serious escalation of crimes by IOF; and

         Condemns these crimes that are a continuum of Israeli war crimes in the OPT reflecting disregard for Palestinian civilian lives;

         Condemns the policy of extra-judicial executions against Palestinian activist, which increase tension in the area and threaten to cause additional Palestinian casualties;

         Calls upon the international community to intervene to stop these crimes; renewing the call to the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligation to protect Palestinian civilians in the OPT.