Israeli forces assassinate Hamas leader Isma’il Abu Shanab, two of his bodyguards, and injure 19 civilians

Three people were killed when Israeli forces launched an air strike on the car in Gaza City belonging to Hamas political leader Ismail Abu Shanab. Shanab was killed in the attack.(AFP/Mohammed Abed)

On Thursday afternoon, 21 August 2003, Israeli occupying forces committed a new extra-judicial assassination, which left dead a prominent leader of the Hamas movement, Isma’il Abu Shanab and 2 of his bodyguards. In addition, 19 passing Palestinian civilians were wounded. PCHR condemns this latest extrajudicial assignation carried out by Israeli force as an indiscriminate use of force amounting to a war crime perpetrated against Palestinian civilians.

At approximately 13:15, Israeli helicopter gunships launched 5 missiles at a civilian car that was traveling on UNRWA Vocational Training Center Street opposite to the headquarters of the Gaza Governorate, a densely populated area in Gaza City. The missile destroyed the car. Ambulances and rescue teams arrived on the scene shortly after the attack. They extracted 3 bodies from the car and transferred them to Shifa’ Hospital in Gaza City. In addition, 19 passing Palestinian civilians were wounded.

Later, there were reports that Isma’il Hassan Abu Shanab, 53, from Sheikh Radwan neighborhood in Gaza City, a prominent leader of the Hamas movement and 2 of his bodyguards had been traveling in the targeted car. The 2 bodyguards have been identified as Mo’men Mohammed Baroud, 24, from al-Shati refugee camp and Hani Majed Abu al-‘Amrain, 23, from Sheikh Radwan neighborhood.

At the time of the attack, Israeli warplanes were flying over Gaza City, apparently to drown out the sounds of the approaching helicopter gunships. Israeli occupying forces have used this method in several assassination attempts in the past.

PCHR strongly condemns this latest assassination and reiterates its call for the international community and the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to immediately intervene to stop violations of human rights and international humanitarian law perpetrated by Israeli occupying forces.