On Saturday evening, 30 May 2009, armed clashes occurred between members of the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades (the armed wing of Hamas) and Palestinian security services. The incident took place in the northern West Bank town of Qalqiliya. The clashes continued until the early morning of Sunday, 31 May 2009, and resulted in six deaths (two members of the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades, the owner of a house in which the two members harbored and three security officers). A number of other persons were also wounded.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights’ (PCHR) investigations indicate that, at approximately 22:00 on Saturday, 30 May 2009, a large force of Palestinian security services besieged a house belonging to Abdul Nasser al-Basha in the Kfar Saba neighborhood of Qalqilya. The operation was intended to arrest Mohammed al-Samman, the leader of the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades in the northern West Bank, and Mohammed Yassin, his aide. The two persons refused to surrender to the security services, who had brought some of their relatives to convince them to surrender. Yassin left the house appealing to people to lift the siege. Immediately, security officers shot him dead. Soon after, security forces were fired at from the house and a number of hand grenades were thrown at them. As a result, three security officers were killed. At approximately 6:00am on Sunday, security forces stormed the house. As a result, al-Samman and the owner of the house were killed, and the owner’s wife and a number of security officers were wounded.
Brigadier Adnan al-Dumairi, spokesman for the Palestinian security services, stated to PCHR that at approximately 10:00pm on Saturday, 30 May 2009, a unit of the Preventive Security Service came under attack while conducting a routine activity in Kfar Saba neighborhood in Qalqilya. The attackers harbored in a two-story house belonging to Abdul Nasser al-Basha. The security unit called for backups and the house was besieged. Security forces demanded that the gunmen surrender. Al-Dumairi noted that, in order to avoid bloodshed, security forces called a number of public figures and relatives of the gunmen to convince them to surrender. However, the gunmen refused to surrender and opened fire at security forces. At approximately 6:00am on Sunday, security forces stormed the house. The operation resulted in six deaths (two gunmen, the owner of the house and three security officers):
- Hussam Hassan Fares Abu al-Rokh, 43, a member of the National Security Forces, from Jenin refugee camp;
- Shaher Hnaini Shraim, 42, a member of the Preventive Security Services;
- Abdul Rahman Hussein Yassin, 33, a member of the Preventive Security Service;
- Mohammed Abdul Fattah al-Samman, 25, from the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades;
- Mohammed Rasheed Yassin, 24, from the Izzedin al-Qassam Brigades; and
- Abdul Nasser al-Basha, 38, the owner of the house.
PCHR regrets these incidents, and:
- Calls for an independent investigation into the incident, the results of which should be made public.
- Calls upon all parties to cease the acts of incitement which have accompanied this incident, in order to avoid more bloodshed and to ensure the non-recurrence of the tragedies that took place in the Gaza Strip two years ago.
- Confirms that the relevant authorities have the right to arrest persons suspected of violating the law. However, legal procedures relevant to detentions and house searches must be followed.
- Emphasizes the need to have strict procedures regulating the use of firearms by law enforcement officials. This is essential in order to prevent the use of excessive force and to ensure respect for international human rights standards intended preserve the security and safety of civilians.