22 April 2004
In a continuation of the policy of extra-judicial assassination officially adopted by the Israeli government, on Thursday morning, 22 April 2004, Israeli occupying forces killed 3 Palestinians from Tulkarm refugee camp. They claimed that the three were armed and exchanged fire with them, but investigations conducted by PCHR refute this claim. The three victims were members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the military wing of Fatah movement.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 03:30 on Thursday, sounds of shooting were heard in the area located between Tulkarm and the neighboring Nour Shams refugee camp. At approximately 05:00, a number of residents of the area went to the place where the shooting took place to check what had happened. They found 3 bodies in the area. They called for an ambulance which transferred the bodies to a hospital in Tulkarm. The three victims were identified as: Bilal ‘Ali Mousa Abu ‘Amsha, 29, hit by several live bullets to the chest; Ayman Yousef Fayez Barahma, 28, hit by a live bullet to the face; and Ghanem Mahmoud Ibrahim Ghanem, 22, hit by a live bullet to the face.
PCHR’s field worker in Tulkarm who went to the site of the incident reported that he saw blood between cars, on which the victims apparently slept, and the place where their bodies were found. According to eyewitnesses, the sounds of shooting indicated that the gunfire was directed from one side. According to medical sources, the victims were shot from a very close distance.
PCHR strongly condemns these Israeli actions, which constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention. They indicate Israel’s disregard for international human rights law and international humanitarian law. PCHR asserts that the Israeli policies serve to increase tension in the region and threaten the lives of Palestinian civilians. PCHR calls upon the international community to immediately intervene to prevent further deterioration of the situation in the OPTs. PCHR also reminds the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of their legal obligations under the Convention to ensure protection for Palestinian civilians in the OPTs.