Israeli Troops Execute 5 Palestinian Workers
Israeli Troops Execute 5 Palestinian Workers in Cold Blood
PNA, UN and Haaretz Condemn IOF ‘Indiscriminate Killings’
Israeli Occupation Forces (IOF) executed five Palestinian workers in cold blood while their work colleagues were watching during their pre-dawn invasion of southern Gaza City on Wednesday, shot dead an 11-year old boy and two teenagers, in what the Israeli daily Haaretz described as “indiscriminate killings.”
The five workers went out of their workshop raising their hands but the IOF troops executed them one by one while their work colleagues were watching, a medical source at the Palestinian Ministry of Health’s Central Operations Room told WAFA.
Bakr Abu Saffiyeh, head of the emergency services at Al-Shifa hospital in Gaza City, told AFP that five had been shot with “a single bullet to the head or the nape of the neck.”
Deploring the “loss of life” in Gaza City Wednesday, a senior United Nations envoy for the Middle East called on Israel to take measures to avoid endangering civilians.
Terje Roed-Larsen issued a statement urging Israeli military authorities to “act in a manner that minimizes the risk to civilians and is in keeping with Israel's obligations under international law.”
Similarly the executions and killings brought immediate condemnation from the Palestine National Authority (PNA), with President Yaser Arafat's media advisor, Nabil Abu Rudeina, saying: “The Israeli government must bear the responsibility for this massacre.”
Palestinian Prime Minister Ahmad Qurei, speaking to reporters after a meeting with US envoy John Wolf in the West Bank town of Ramallah, said the killings had been raised in their discussions.
“What has happened in Gaza is one of the crimes which Israel commits on a daily basis,” he said.
The executions overshadowed Egypt’s and the United States’ efforts to revive the Middle East peace process.
“And now, as American mediators come to the region, when Egyptian Foreign Minister Ahmed Maher and Egyptian intelligence chief Omar Suleiman are trying to revive the negotiations or at least get a cease-fire, and when Arab leaders are trying to find a reasonable formula for a solution, such a grave incident takes place in Gaza,” Haaretz said on Thursday.
There were conflicting reports regarding the number of victims of the IOF’s deadly invasion. The Palestinian Red Crescent Society stated that 10 were killed and four wounded, adding that one of the wounded was an ambulance driver. Haaretz and the IOF Radio reported that at least 13 were killed.
The martyrs were identified as Sami Badawi, 11, Ahmad Mahmud Ali Abu Rukab, 22, Iyad Mahmud al-Ra'aei, 38, Marwan Mahmoud A’tiyyah Basal, 39, Moussa Sulaiman Walwal, 30, Othman Mahmud Jundiya, 22, Sameh Kamel Tutah, 17, Akram Abdul Karim Abu Ajami, 17, Muhammad Fathi Dahdar.
All were shot dead in Al-Zeitoon suburb of southern Gaza City.
A cousin of one of the victims, identified as Mousa Walwal, said he was a non-combatant construction worker who went to help someone who had been hit by Israeli fire.
“He was shot near the entrance to his house,” the cousin said at the family’s mourning tent, where men gathered on plastic chairs as loudspeakers broadcast verses from the Koran.
At least ten other bystanders were reported injured, including the ambulance-man, Palestinian medical sources said.
The Islamic Jihad organization said four of its defenders were among the “martyrs” and vowed revenge.
A student at Gaza’s Islamic University, said the invasion was deeply resented because it came just days before the Muslim Feast of the Sacrifice Holiday on Sunday.
People had started shopping for food and gifts for the feast, he said.
“This was a provocation, and the response will be that Israeli houses will also be in mourning. They destroyed our holiday joy and we will destroy their holidays.”
Titled “Indiscriminate killing,” a Haaretz commentary on Thursday said that, “The dry account provided by the army … was another one of those routine reports that the Israeli public has grown used to. Apparently the public is accepting a situation in which military activity in Palestinian towns is accompanied by indiscriminate killing.”
“Reality shows that under Ariel
Sharon's government, violent friction has become the only
contact between Israelis and Palestinians and the government
is doing nothing to instruct the army to behave in a
restrained manner in its ongoing security operations,”
Haaretz commentary added.