8 March 2003
In the latest in the Israeli state-affirmed policy of extra-judicial assassination of Palestinian activists, Israeli occupying forces killed a senior leader of Hamas and 3 of his guards this morning. Four Israeli combat helicopters flew over Gaza city and launched 4 missiles at a civilian car, in which 5 Palestinian civilians were traveling, in a densely populated area in the city.
According to PCHR’s investigation, at approximately 08:15 on Saturday, 8 March 2003, 4 Israeli helicopter gunships launched 4 missiles at a civilian car, a white Mitsubishi, in which 5 persons were traveling southwards on Palestine Street, which links Sheikh Radwan neighborhood and the center of Gaza city. The missiles hit the car directly, destroying it. Four of its occupants were killed: Ibrahim Ahmed Khaled al-Maqadma, 55, from al-Boreij refugee camp, a senior member of Hamas movement; Khaled Joma’a, 30, from Jabalya; ‘Abdul Rahman Zuhair ‘Abdul Rahman al-‘Aamoudi, 29, from al-Shati refugee camp; and ‘Alaa’ ‘Ouda al-Shukri, 30, al-Shukri, 30, from al-Tuffah neighborhood in Gaza city.
The fifth person in the car, Riad Mohammed al-Dada, 30, from al-Tuffah neighborhood in Gaza city, was critically injured. Two bystanders were also injured. A number of nearby houses and a civilian car that was traveling behind the targeted car were severely damaged.
An Israeli military spokesman confirmed that the decision to assassinate al-Maqadma was taken in advance by Israeli officials, claiming that al-Maqadma planned military attacks carried out by the Hamas movement against Israeli targets.
Since the beginning of 2003, Israeli occupying forces have carried out 5 similar assassinations in the West Bank and Gaza Strip, showing total disregard for international law and for the lives of Palestinian civilians. 12 Palestinians were killed in these attacks, 9 of whom were targeted. Since the beginning of the current Intifada 208 Palestinians have been killed in assassination attacks carried out by the Israeli occupying forces. 81 of those killed were non-targeted bystanders.
PCHR expresses its strong condemnation of these unlawful Israeli military actions, which also demonstrate the Israeli military’s total disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians, and for international human rights and humanitarian law.
PCHR reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to meet their obligations and ensure protection for Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Territories.