Israeli death squad guns down man in Ramallah street

Palestinians collecting shells and other debris from the pavement outside the Nazareth Restaurant. (Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute)

Israel undercover ‘special forces’ executed a Palestinian man at point blank range this afternoon during an attack on Ramallah. The man, identified as Omar Abu Daher, a member of Mahmoud Abbas’ Presidential Guard, was initially shot in the leg outside the offices of the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute on Ramallah’s Main Street.

When he fell to the ground, Israeli undercover forces executed him with a shot to the back of the head at close range. He was killed instantly.

The body of Omar Abu Daher after being gunned down by Israeli special forces. (Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute)

Paramedics from the Palestinian Medical Relief Society (PMRS) managed to retrieve his body, which they transported to Sheikh Zayed Hospital in Ramallah. Doctors said that Daher had been shot 24 times all over his body.

Some seven other Palestinians were injured during the attack and a further two to three people were arrested.

Minister of Information Dr. Mustafa Barghouthi was present at the scene at the time of the execution. Israeli forces shot at his car as he attempted to follow the PMRS ambulance to the hospital.

Dr. Barghouthi strongly condemned the execution as a despicable and tragic violation of the non-derogable right to life enshrined in international law. He added that this attack has come after Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert refused an offer by the Palestinian National Unity Government for a comprehensive, reciprocal ceasefire, and said that it was yet further evidence of the lack of an Israeli partner for peace.

The attack began at approximately 17:45 when Israeli special forces entered a building on Ramallah’s Main Street, which was full of civilian shoppers and passers-by at the time, and positioned themselves underneath the office of the Health, Development, Information and Policy Institute. As the undercover unit entered, Israeli military vehicles invaded Ramallah from several sides and besieged the area in which the undercover unit was operating.

Witnesses report that heavy, random shooting ensured and that Palestinians youths were used as human shields to ‘protect’ Israeli undercover forces as they fled the scene.

This is just the latest of several attacks by the Israeli military on the official Palestinian Authority Presidential Guard, which are overseen by President Mahmoud Abbas, and who are responsible for upholding public order and internal security in areas under their responsibility.

Two members of the Presidential Guard were executed by another Israeli undercover unit in a similar attack in February 2007. [1]

Dr. Barghouthi said that such attacks represent a further effort by Israel to undermine the already fragile ability of the PA to uphold the rule of law in Palestine, and evidence that Israel’s frequent arrest raids are targeting all Palestinians and not only those affiliated to Hamas without any consideration for basic human rights.

[1] Al Haq, 22 February 2007, Palestinian Security Forces Under Attack.

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