PCHR strongly condemns the extra-judicial assassination carried out by Israeli occupying forces on Saturday evening, 28 February 2004, which left dead 3 members of al-Quds Brigade, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad. PCHR remains gravely concerned for the continuous escalation in war crimes, especially extra-judicial assassinations, committed by Israeli occupying forces and sanctioned by its government.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 18:40 on Saturday, an Israeli helicopter gunship supported by an F-16 fighter jet launched a missile at a civilian car, a Subaru, in which three Palestinians were traveling near al-Saftawi junction, north of Gaza city. The missile hit the car and destroyed it, killing the 3 Palestinian passengers and injuring 11 civilian bystanders, including 3 children. One of the injured children, a 7-year-old, was described as in critical condition. A number of neighboring houses and shops were damaged. The three victims were identified as: Mohammed ‘Abdul Fattah Jouda, 24, from Jabalya refugee camp; Amin Hamdan Ibrahim al-Dahdouh, 32, from al-Daraj neighborhood in Gaza city; and Ayman Sha’ban al-Dahdouh, 42, from al-Daraj neighborhood in Gaza city.
PCHR remains concerned for this escalation of force by the Israeli government and its occupying forces against Palestinian civilians. PCHR believes that extra-judicial and willful killings perpetrated by Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians proves Israel’s disregard for international and humanitarian law. PCHR asserts that the policy of extra-judicial assassinations officially adopted by the Israeli government serves to increase tension in the region and create more casualties among Palestinian civilians. PCHR calls upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to fulfill their obligations and ensure protection for Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.