Assassination in Khan Yunis, death toll Israeli raid northern Gaza rises to 83

On Saturday morning, 9th October 2004, Israeli occupying troops committed an extra-judicial execution in Khan Yunis refugee camp in the southern Gaza Strip, killing two Palestinians. This latest attack, which was the fourth of its kind in the Gaza Strip in one week, came in the context of an unprecedented level of escalation of attacks by Israeli occupying troops against Palestinian civilians and their property, especially in the northern Gaza Strip.

According to preliminary investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 01:15 on Saturday, the Israeli air force fired a missile at 2 Palestinians who were walking in al-Furn Street, a branch road of the Sea Street, in Khan Yunis refugee camp. The two were members of the Palestinian National Security Force, and had just left their site in this capacity, which is located near al-Tuffah checkpoint, west of Khan Yunis.  The missile directly hit one of them, separating the upper part of his body from the lower one, while the other Palestinian was hit by shrapnel from the missile and died a few minutes later.  The two victims were identified as: ‘Emad Yahia Khalil Bader, 24, a member of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah movement; and Saqer ‘Awni Saqer, 23, a member of Ahmed Abu al-Reesh Brigades, an armed group of Fatah movement. A number of houses and civilian facilities were also damaged.

In the meantime, Israeli occupying troops have continued their wide scale offensive on the northern Gaza Strip. Since the beginning of this latest offensive on 28 September 2004, Israeli occupying troops have killed 83 Palestinians, nearly half of them were civilians, including 25 children, and injured at least 300 others, including nearly 110 children. According to medical sources, many of the injured are in a serious condition and a number of them have been rendered permanently disabled. Israeli occupying troops have continued to use excessive force against members of the Palestinian resistance.

On Saturday morning, 9 October 2004, Israeli troops killed 2 members of the Palestinian resistance with many live bullets in Beit Hanoun. Members of the Israeli occupying troops then pulled them while they were still bleeding dozens of meters away and put their bodies on ruins of a house that had been destroyed.

In addition, Israeli occupying troops have destroyed dozens of houses and civilian facilities and razed large areas of agricultural land. They have also imposed a tightened siege on several areas, denying entry of humanitarian and medical assistance, which may eventually lead to a humanitarian crisis. For more details about this offensive, see PCHR’s press releases and weekly reports from 28 September to 7 October 20004. 

PCHR strongly condemns such attacks and expresses concerns for this escalation by the Israeli government and its occupying troops. PCHR believes that these latest attacks and other attacks launched by Israeli occupying against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPTs) violate international law and humanitarian law.

PCHR reiterates its call for the High Contracting Parties to the Geneva Convention Relative to the Protection of Civilian Persons in Time of War of 1949 to ensure respect for the Convention and take effective steps to stop grave breaches of the Convention perpetrated by Israeli occupying troops against Palestinian civilians in the OPTs.  PCHR calls also upon the international community to stop its silence and intervene to stop Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians in the OPTs.

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