On Monday evening, 2 January 2006, Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) extra-judicially executed a member of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad, and a taxi driver. Another member of the al-Quds Brigades was critically injured. Three civilian bystanders were also injured. In the meantime, IOF have continued to shell areas in the Gaza Strip, especially in the north. On Friday, 31 December 2005, two Palestinian civilians were killed by the IOF shelling that targeted Beit Lahia.
According to investigations conducted by PCHR, at approximately 21:15 on Monday, 2 January 2006, an IOF aircraft launched a missile at a taxi that was traveling on the Sea road near the Municipality of Jabalya. Two members of the al-Quds Brigades, the military wing of the Islamic Jihad, were traveling. The missile hit the front of the car and killed the driver and one of the two militants: Akram Hassan Quddas, 45, the driver; and Sa’id ‘Abdul Fattah Abu al-Jedian, 38. The other militant was critically injured. In addition, 3 civilian bystanders were injured by shrapnel.
On Friday, 31 December 2005, IOF killed two Palestinian civilians and injured a third one seriously when they were sitting on a field in Beit Lahia, nearly two kilometers away from the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel. IOF fired an air-to-surface missile and 3 tank shells at the threee civilians, thinking that they are members of the Palestinian resistance. The two victims were identified as: Mo’taz Ahmed ‘Abdul Raziq al-Musallami, 20; and Hamza Jihad Hamdouna, 21.
In the meantime, IOF have continued to launch mock air raids throughout the Gaza Strip, allegedly in response to rockets from the Gaza Strip at Israeli towns. As a result, Palestinian civilians have been extremely terrified and a number of civilian facilities have been destroyed.
The Palestinian Centre for Human Rights strongly condemns this latest attack. PCHR asserts that this latest escalation that includes actions and reactions is the outcome of decisions taken by the Israeli political and military establishments two week ago to wage military campaigns against Palestinians in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT), including extra-judicial executions and arbitrary arrests.
PCHR warns of the damagers posed by military operations conducted by IOF on the lives and property of Palestinian civilians. PCHR reminds the Palestinian resistance groups of their responsibilities with regard to protection of civilians in keeping with international law, and calls on them to abstain from launching any military activities from inside or near civilian areas or which target civilians or civilian areas. Attacks against civilians are in clear violation of international humanitarian law.
PCHR calls upon the international community to meet its responsibilities, and calls particularly upon the High Contracting Parties to the Fourth Geneva Convention of 1949 to fulfill their obligations under the Convention to ensure protection for Palestinian civilians in the OPT, and stop crimes committed by IOF.