In violation of international human rights law and international humanitarian law, on Sunday evening, 25 July 2004, Israeli occupying forces committed another extra-judicial execution, which left 6 Palestinians dead. This attack targeted 2 wanted Palestinians. The other four of the victims, including 2 children, were civilian bystanders. Israeli occupying forces claimed that these Palestinians were killed when they exchanged fire with Israeli troops, which completely contradicts with statements by eyewitnesses. This latest attack further proves Israel’s disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians.
According to preliminary investigations by PCHR, at approximately 20:30 on Sunday, 25 July 2004, an undercover unit of Israeli occupying forces moved into Tulkarm using a civilian car that has a Palestinian registration. The car stopped near a restaurant at Khaled Ben al-Walid Street in the western quarter. Immediately, 4 or 5 gunmen who were wearing civilian clothes got out of the car and opened fire at Mohammed ‘Adnan Mahmoud Shanteer, 18, who was crossing the street. He was instantly killed by a live bullet in the head. Then, the gunmen moved towards the aforementioned restaurant and opened fire at a number of Palestinians who were sitting there.
A few minutes later, Israeli troops arrived at the area to support the undercover unit. In the meantime, Palestinian ambulances arrived at the area to evacuate the wounded to hospitals, but Israeli troops prevented them from reaching the wounded for nearly one hour, during which the wounded bled to death. According to eyewitnesses, the victims were fired at from a distance of less than 10 meters. At approximately 21:30, Israeli troops withdrew from the area, and ambulances transferred bodies of 5 Palestinians, including 2 children, to Dr. Thabet Thabet Hospital.
According to medical sources, the victims were hit by live bullets to their heads. They were identified as: Ahmed Nabeel Ahmed Barrouq, 16; Sa’id Jamal Sa’id Abu Qamar, 16; Mahdi Ra’eq Na’im Tanbour, 21; Hani Yousef Mohammed ‘Owaida, 26; and ‘Abdul Rahman Ahmed Hassan Shadeed, 33.
Tanbour and ‘Owiada were local leaders of al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigade, the military wing of Fatah movement, and apparently the attack targeted them.
PCHR strongly condemns this attack and remains gravely concerned about each such escalation of the conflict by the Israeli government and its occupying forces. This latest crime further proves Israel’s disregard for international law and humanitarian law. 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 Territories.