Israeli forces kill 5 Palestinians, including a child, in Hebron and Gaza

Early this morning, 2 Palestinian activists were extra-judicially executed by Israeli occupying forces in the West Bank city of Hebron.

According to PCHR’s field investigations and eyewitness reports, at approximately 02:00 on Thursday, 25 September 2003, Israeli occupying forces, reinforced by 13 heavy vehicles, a number of military jeeps and 2 armored personnel carriers, moved into ‘Eissi neighborhood in the west of Hebron. Israeli forces, covered by intense gunfire, advanced towards nearby caves and surrounded a cave in which 3 allegedly wanted Palestinians had taken shelter. Following an exchange of fire, 2 of the Palestinians were killed: Diab ‘Abdul Rahim ‘Abdul Rahman al-Shuweiki, 30, the leader of al-Quds Brigade, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad in Hebron; and ‘Abdul Rahman ‘Abdul Aziz al-Qeeq al-Talahmi, 27, the leader of al-Quds Brigade in Dura, a village adjacent to Hebron.

Al Shuweiki’s younger brother, Jihad, 25, was wounded as Israeli soldiers opened fire upon his surrender.

Israeli occupying forces later blew up the caves and declared the area a closed military zone, imposing a curfew before finally withdrawing at approximately 06:00.

In another military operation early this morning, Israeli occupying forces encroached 4 kilometers into block 1 of al-Bureij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. They claimed to be searching for wanted Palestinian activists in the area. The incursion left 3 Palestinians dead, including a 3-year-old child who died from a heart attack. 6 other civilians were wounded, including a 13-year-old child.

According to PCHR’s investigations, at approximately 02:45, on Thursday, 25 September 2003, Israeli occupying forces reinforced by military vehicles, moved into block 1 in al-Breij refugee camp in the central Gaza Strip. Israeli forces advanced 4 kilometers into the area from the nearby “Netzarim” settlement and surrounded the homes of 2 allegedly wanted Palestinians. The first house belongs to Nour ‘Abdul Qader Saji’ Abu ‘Armaneh, 20 and was home to 9 people, while the second house belongs to Faris Ibrahim Khalil Shaheen, 27. Israeli occupying forces claim that both men are activists of the Islamic Jihad movement.

Shaheen and his family were not at home at the time of the incident, however Abu ‘Armaneh managed to escape from his house after it was surrounded by Israeli occupying forces and fled to a neighboring house belonging to an uncle, Hatem. Israeli forces followed him and surrounded his uncle’s house, but he managed to flee again to the home of another uncle, Ashraf. Israeli occupying forces followed Abu ‘Armaneh and raided the second house, detaining 11 residents together in one room. Abu ‘Armaneh was killed following an exchange of fire with Israeli soldiers on the second floor of the house.

Israeli occupying forces took both of Abu ‘Armaneh’s uncles to the Nahal ‘Ouz area for interrogation. Both men were assaulted before they were released and are currently receiving medical attention.

During the Israeli incursion into al-Bureij refugee camp, a number of Palestinians confronted the Israeli occupying forces. The confrontation resulted in the killing of Mohammad Basheer Mohammad ‘Aqel, 25, from Nusseirat refugee camp. 6 other Palestinians sustained various injuries. The incursion was accompanied by heavy and indiscriminate shelling from Israeli helicopter gunships, which damaged a number of electricity transmitters and severed the flow of electricity to large portions of the southern Gaza Strip. At approximately 06:00, upon the withdrawal of Israeli occupying forces from the refugee camp, medical sources declared that Lina Hassan Hamoudeh ‘Essa, 3, died from a heart attack, after heavy Israeli shelling in the area.

In light of the ongoing escalation of war crimes perpetrated by the Israeli occupying forces against Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories (OPT), PCHR reiterates its call for the international community, particularly the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention, to take effective action to stop the rapid deterioration of the human rights situation in the OPT.