Israeli undercover unit assassinates three Palestinians in Nablus

Israeli army jeep blocking the entrance to the old city of Nablus during a military operation on July 1, 2004 (Photo: Arjan El Fassed)

On Monday, 1 November 2004, Israeli occupation forces (IOF) committed an extra-judicial killing in Nablus, which left 3 members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades (the military wing of Fatah movement) dead, and injured a fourth one.  The killing was carried out by an undercover unit of IOF, whose members often disguise as Palestinian civilians.  This latest attacks came in the context of an official policy adopted by the Israeli political and military establishments. 

According to preliminary investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 21:00 on Monday, 1 November 2004, an undercover unit of IOF, disguised in Palestinian civilian clothes and traveling in a civilian car that had a Palestinian registration plate, moved into Nablus. The car stopped near ‘Abdul Mugheeth al-Ansari school, and 6-8 persons who were wearing women’s clothes got out of it.  Those persons mounted the stairs of al-Yasamina, which leads to al-Samra area in the west of the old town.  They moved towards 4 Palestinians who were sitting in the area and fired at them at very close range.  Three of these Palestinians were instantly killed: Majdi Mar’ei, 25; Fadi Sami Nour al-Sarwan, 22; and Jihad ‘Omar Abu Salha, 25.

The three were members of the al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the military wing of Fatah movement.  The fourth Palestinian was seriously wounded.  Soon, more Israeli troops arrived on the scene to transport the undercover unit, while an F-16 fighter jet, a helicopter and a drone were flying over the city. 

Majid Mar’ei had survived an assassination attempt carried out by IOF on 15 September 2004, which left 6 Palestinians dead, including an 11-year-old child.  Israeli military sources claimed that Mar’ei had been wanted for a long time and that he was responsible for a number of attacks against Israeli targets.

PCHR remains gravely concerned about such escalation by the Israeli government and its occupation. Israeli violations of human rights, including extra-judicial and indiscriminate killings, further indicate Israel’s disregard for international law and humanitarian law, which prohibit such acts that constitute grave breaches of the Fourth Geneva Convention (1949), in particular article 147. PCHR asserts that the policy of extra-judicial executions officially adopted by the Israeli government serves to increase tension in the region and threatens the lives of Palestinian civilians.  PCHR reiterates its calls for the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations to ensure protection for Palestinian civilians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory.

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