On Friday morning (Dec 3), IDF soldiers killed Mahmud Abd a-Rahman Hamdan Kmel (A-Dab’i), in the village of Raba, southeast of Jenin. The IDF spokesperson issued a statement saying that Kmel was killed by soldiers as he was fled from a house in which he had hidden. Yet, B’Tselem’s investigation at the site of the incident raises grave suspicion that IDF soldiers executed Kmel as he was lying injured on the ground and after his weapon had already been taken away from him. B’Tselem’s investigation also indicates that soldiers threatened two Palestinians at gunpoint and forced them to carry the wounded man and search his body, in blatant contradiction of a High Court injunction.
Testimonies taken by B’Tselem indicate that IDF soldiers shot at Mahmud Kmel, who was wanted for interrogation, while he tried to escape from a house in which he had spent the night. Kmel was injured, but remained fully conscious. IDF soldiers then threatened two Palestinian men at gunpoint, forcing them to bring Kmel’s body to them. The two men spoke with Kmel, who told them his name and requested medical treatment. After the two handed the soldiers a pistol that had been in Kmel’s possession, they carried Kmel toward the soldiers. According to their testimonies, the soldiers then told them to leave the area, and about a minute later, they heard a round of gunfire. The soldiers then sent one of the men to search Kmel to find his wallet. The man saw that Kmel had been shot in the head and killed.
The testimonies give strong reason to believe that the soldiers shot Kmel after he was injured and unarmed, and therefore posed no danger. In addition, soldiers forced civilians to carry out dangerous tasks, although the IDF made a commitment to the High Court of Justice not to use such methods. In light of the recent failures in operational debriefings conducted by the IDF, B’Tselem calls for an immediate Military Police investigation into this incident.
Testimony of Suleiman Ahmad Muhammad Qasrawi
Suleiman Ahmad Muhammad Qasrawi, 50, married with five children, teacher, resident of Raba. The testimony was given to ‘Atef Abu a-Rob on 3 December 2004 at the witness’s home.
My house is located near the western entrance to Raba on the right-hand side, if you are coming from the village of al-Zababda. Around 5:00 A.M. this morning [3 December], I heard strange sounds from beneath the house. There was lots of noise and voices speaking Hebrew. I did not know what was going on because I don’t understand Hebrew. I was sure, though, that it wasn’t Arabic that I heard. I also heard the sound of a car engine. A few minutes later, I said morning prayers and went back to bed. I thought nothing special had happened, so I didn’t wake up my sons.
Around 5:15 A.M., I heard explosions from below the house and six or seven gunshots. My sons and my wife woke up. We all went to the living room. We knew that we had to leave the house in such a situation. We got dressed, and then somebody called out on a loudspeaker to turn the lights out. I turned out the lights. Then I heard an explosion far from the house.
Around ten minutes later, around 5:30, I heard knocking on our door. I heard somebody tell us to open the door. I asked who it was, and the soldiers shouted: “Open the door.” When I opened the door, I saw about ten soldiers standing on the steps. One of them asked me to gather the whole family together in one room. We all went into a bedroom. The soldiers came in and some thirty soldiers followed them in. They told me to open the door leading to the roof. Most of the soldiers went onto the roof, and about ten soldiers remained inside the house.
After the soldiers spread out around the house and on the roof, one of the soldiers called to me: “Come here!” One of the soldiers went down the steps with me. He and I went toward the southeast corner of my house and pointed to the house of my neighbor, Tayil Al-Bazur, and said to me: “There is someone there and I want you bring him over!” I walked to Al-Bazur’s house. As I did, I saw Tayil standing outside his house. I said to him, “Come here… They want you!” He replied: “They don’t want me… They want a wounded, young, wanted man who is near the corner of the house.” Tayil and I went over to the wanted man and saw him lying on the ground. We tried to pick him up, but we were so frightened that we couldn’t lift him.
While trying to lift him, I noticed that he had a pistol inside his pants. I took the pistol and raised it so that the soldiers could see it, and I shouted out that he had a pistol. One of the soldiers told me to bring the pistol to him. I took it and walked toward the soldiers who were under my house. While I was walking, the soldier told me twice to throw the pistol down, and then to proceed toward him and pick it up. When I was about five meters from the soldiers, one of the soldiers ordered me to throw the pistol. When I threw the pistol, I told the soldier that we couldn’t drag the man. The soldier asked me to bring over the man’s ID card. I went back to the guy, who had been lightly wounded in the neck – I think it was on the right side. I told him that the soldiers wanted his ID card. He told me that he didn’t have it with him. I went back to the soldiers and told them that he did not have his ID. The soldier who had spoken with me before told me to go back and bring the wounded man over.
I went back to the guy. Tayil was standing alongside him. We picked him up. On the way, soldiers in the other houses began to yell at us, and ordered us to set him down on the ground. We put him down, midway between my house and Tayil’s house. The soldier who was under my house shouted to me to bring him over. I told him that I didn’t know which of them I should listen to. He said, “Do what I say, and the others will keep quiet.” We picked him up again and carried him to a distance of about 10-12 meters from the corner. One of the soldiers told me to put him down. We set him down on the ground. The soldier told us to go over to him. The two of us walked toward the soldier. He ordered me to lift up Mahmud’s clothes [shirt]. I refused because it was embarrassing, and my religion forbids it. I told the soldier that he was lying on the ground. The soldier told me that he had a cell phone in his pocket, and that I should bring it to him. I went over to the wounded guy and asked him if he had a cell phone. He said it was in his pocket. He told me, “Make it easier, and tell them that my name is Mahmud A-Dab’i.” I took the cell phone from Mahmud’s pocket. He also had a pack of cigarettes and a lighter in his pocket. I gave the things to the soldier, and told him that the guy’s name was Mahmud A-Dab’i. The soldier took the cell phone and made a call with it. Then he shouted: “Come here!” He took me behind the stairway, and told Tayil to go toward the house of our neighbor ‘Abdallah Al-Bazur. Less than a minute passed, and then I heard five or six shots. Then I heard the soldier who had spoken with me shout: “Enough.” The shooting stopped. He told me to go home” I went to the room where my sons and wife were. The soldiers were still inside the house. One of the soldiers told me that they would leave the house in another half an hour. In less than that time, the soldiers left the area.
I quickly went to the window to see what had happened to the wounded guy. The soldiers were still around. I saw the man lying on the ground. Around 7:15 AM, the army left. Immediately, I went over to the guy and saw that he was dead. He had been shot in the head. There were parts of his brain and skull, and lots of blood around the body.
Testimony of Tayil Muhammad Al-Bazur
Tayil Muhammad Al-Bazur, 45, married with seven children, laborer, resident of Raba. The testimony was given to ‘Atef Abu a-Rob on 3 December 2004 at the witness’s home.
On Thursday night, Mahmud A-Dab’i, my niece’s husband, came to my house. He told me that he intended to sleep at my house. I welcomed him like I would welcome a family member. I was at home with my wife and my children: Ahmad, who is nine, Amin, 8, Sanaa, 19, who is married and was visiting, Nasrin, 18, and Intissa, 14.
Around 10:30, I left Mahmud alone in a room, and went to sleep with my children and wife. Around 5:00 A.M., I heard explosions near the house. I also heard a voice call out of a loudspeaker: “Come out and raise your hands.” I realized that the army was in the area. I went to the room where Mahmud was and saw that he was already up and dressed and holding his cellular phone. He asked me where the army was, and I told him that, based on the direction the voices were coming from, the army was to the east, because there weren’t any sounds coming from the western and southern sides. He tried to jump out the window, but I stopped him. He left through the door on the northern side of the house. After he left, I heard three to five shots fired one after the other. I did not know if the shots hit him. Meanwhile, somebody was calling over the loudspeaker for people to leave the houses with their hands raised. I decided to go outside with my wife and children. We opened the eastern door, which faced the area where the army was, and went out with our hands up in the air. The soldier who was talking over the loudspeaker ordered us to come toward him. I did not notice if the loudspeaker was on the jeep or was held by one of the soldiers, because the soldiers shone the lights at us.
When we reached the soldiers, near “Amjad’s” house, they ordered me to go to another group of soldiers, who were near the house belonging to Qassem, another neighbor of ours. The soldiers had my two sons, Ahmad and Amin, stay near the jeep. Soldiers led my wife and daughters to Qassem’s house. When I got close to the soldiers, a soldier ordered me to pull up my shirt, and drop my pants. Then he order me to walk toward them. A number of soldiers were positioned near Qassem’s house. There were about 30-40 soldiers. One of the soldiers kept talking to me in Arabic. He asked me, “Who left your house? Was it Mahmud? Was he the one who left your house?” I tried to deny it. He said that he would show me the film. I ignored what he said and kept denying it. He said that he would tear me apart if I didn’t tell him the truth, but I stood firm. He ordered me to walk toward my house, and to go over to the pole and take a look. When I got to the electricity pole near my house, another soldier, who was in our neighbor Suleiman’s house, shouted at me: “Not here, up there! Up there!” I walked over to the corner of the house, where I saw Mahmud lying on the ground.
Before I reached him, the soldier who had spoken with me earlier from below Suleiman’s house told me to go over to him. He and another 15-20 soldiers were under Suleiman’s house. When I was about ten meters from them, one of the soldiers said, “Go and drag him over” I told him that I had a slipped disc and wasn’t able to drag him. The soldier insisted, so I went over to Mahmud. He asked me to drag him to them so that they can give him first-aid. I told him that I can’t. I tried to lift him up, but I couldn’t. On my way back, my neighbor, Suleiman Qasrawi , came and the two of us went over to him. The soldier ordered us to bring him the cellular phones. I gave one of cell phones to the soldiers before Suleiman arrived. When he arrived, we tried to pick him up. He found a gun in Mahmud’s pocket. He held the pistol and told the soldiers, “He has a pistol!” The soldier ordered him to bring him the pistol. Suleiman went over to the soldiers, holding the pistol. After he gave them the pistol, he came back to me and told me that the soldiers insisted that we drag him over.
Mahmud was leaning on us, and he said that the soldiers might give him first-aid. Suleiman and I walked with Suleiman leaning on us, his arms around our shoulders and our hands supported his legs, so that he sat on our arms, like on a chair. When we got halfway between my house and Suleiman’s house, a soldier who was on the south side of my house shouted: “Put him down.” We set him down on the ground. Another soldier, who was under Suleiman’s house, shouted at us to bring him over, and we continued to walk toward Suleiman’s house. When we were a few meters from Suleiman’s house, the soldier ordered us to put him down. He ordered Suleiman to go over to Mahmud and get his cell phone. Suleiman took the cell phone and told the soldiers that the guy said his name was Mahmud A-Dab’i.
The soldiers told Suleiman to leave, and he did. I walked away with the soldiers guns aimed at me. I walked about 20-30 meters and then heard four or five shots. When I looked, I saw Mahmud’s body jump up a bit. I stopped in the middle of the road. One of the soldiers called to me in Arabic: “Come here!” I went back to the soldiers. One of them said: “Mahmud has a wallet, go bring it and see what is inside!” I went over to Mahmud and saw that he was dead. He had been hit in the head, and blood was splattered on the ground. I searched him, but did not find the wallet. I told the soldiers that I didn’t find anything. The soldier told me: “Go home and look for the wallet.” I went and found it on the ground where he had fallen the first time. I gave the wallet to the soldiers. One of the soldiers opened it, took out some papers and notepads, and counted the money. There was more than NIS 450. I don’t remember how much exactly. He told me: “Take the money and give it to his widow. If you continue to act as you have, you’ll pay with your life.”
Earlier, Mahmud had been wounded lightly in the neck, and was not bleeding much. The blood came from the back of his head. He spoke in a normal way to Suleiman and me.