PCHR strongly condemns the extra-judicial assassination committed by Israeli occupying forces on Tuesday, 29 April 2003. The attack occurred in the southern Gaza Strip town of Khan Yunis and left two Palestinians dead, including one Palestinian activist allegedly wanted by Israeli authorities. This latest killing is a continuation of the policy of extra-judicial assassination officially adopted by the Israeli political and military establishments.
According to PCHR’s investigation and eyewitness testimonies, at approximately 09:45 on Tuesday, 29 April 2003, two Israeli Apache gunships were seen flying over Khan Yunis. One of the gunships launched 2 missiles at a civilian car ( a white Seat Ronda), which was traveling towards offices of the Palestinian General Intelligence near the College of Science and Technology in Gizan al-Najjar area in the south of the town.
The two missiles hit the car directly, destroying it and killing the driver, who reportedly tried to escape. The driver was later identified as Nidal Mohammed ‘Ouda Salama, 36, from Khan Yunis refugee camp, allegedly wanted by Israeli forces for activities with the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. ‘Awni Mohammed Sarhan, 39, from Khan Yunis, who was passing by on an animal cart, was critically injured and later pronounced dead.
PCHR strongly condemns this assassination and expresses deep concern over the escalation in extra-judicial assassinations and indiscriminate killings, which are considered war crimes under the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949.
PCHR believes that this latest assassination is further evidence of Israel’s disregard for international law and humanitarian law. PCHR also asserts that the policy of extra-judicial assassinations officially adopted by the Israeli government serves to increase tension in the region and threatens the lives of Palestinian civilians.
Consequently, PCHR calls upon the international community to discontinue its policy of silence towards such Israeli practices, and reiterates its call upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations and ensure the protection of Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territories.