Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) committed another extra-judicial assassination yesterday evening, killing two. One of them was Lo’ay El-Sa’di, the leader of the Al-Quds Brigades (the armed branch of Islamic Jihad).
Initial investigations by PCHR, and eyewitness accounts, indicate that at 22:00 on the evening of Sunday the 23rd of October, a large IOF force carried out an incursion into the city of Tulkarem and the two refugee camps to the east of the city, Nour Shams and Tulkarem refugee camps. IOF imposed a curfew on residents.
IOF vehicles took positions in the Marba’at Hannoun area east of Tulkarem refugee camp. At about 22:30, a Palestinian civilian car (a white Subaru) was going from the western area of the refugee camp towards the area where IOF vehicles were positioned. Soldiers forced the car to stop, and forced the driver out of the car. Without warning, the soldiers fired at a person sitting in the backseat of the car. He was killed instantly. It was learned later that the man was Majed Sameer Al-Ashqar (28) from Saida village, north of Tulkarem.
After hearing the gunfire, an armed Palestinian came out of an alley to investigate the incident. IOF soldiers spotted him and fired, hitting him with two bullets to his leg and hand. He fired a few bullets at the soldiers, and took refuge in a nearby house belonging to the Asi family. The soldiers sent police dogs equipped with monitoring equipment after him. After determining his position, a group of soldiers pursued him and another took position on the roof of an adjacent house.
The second group fired a rocket at the 3rd storey of the Asi family house. At the time, the man was climbing the stairs, and the soldiers fired at him from close range. He died instantly. Eyewitnesses informed PCHR’s fieldworker that they saw 10 bullets on the stairs leading to the 3rd storey of the Asi family house. PCHR’s fieldworker saw blood covering the stairs.
At 8:45 the next morning, Monday the 24th of October, IOF withdrew from the area and withheld the bodies of the dead men. At 10:00, IOF announced that the second dead man was Lo’ay Jehad El-Sa’di (26), the leader of Al-Quds Brigades in the West Bank, from the village of A’teel to the north of Tulkarem.
It is noted that this extra-judicial assassination is the second of its kind since the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, published on 9 October that IOF had announced a reduction in detention operations against “key wanted activists” in the West Bank, who are expected to resist arrest. In this case, IOF could have arrested both Al-Ashqar and Al-Sa’di, but chose to kill them instead.
PCHR condemns this crime, and affirms that the policy of incursions, imprisonment, and willful killing perpetrated by IOF on a daily basis in the West Bank increases tension in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). These acts threaten to inflict additional Palestinian casualties.
PCHR calls upon the international community to break its silence regarding these crimes. The Centre renews its demand to the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations and guarantee the right to protection for Palestinian civilians in the OPT.