Monday, October 24, 2005
Assasination of El-Assadi: Qurei, 'Like Pouring Oil on the Fire'
Reuters reports, "Army Colonel Aharon Haliva, commander of the force that entered Tulkarm, said troops had surrounded a house where Assadi, long at the top of Israel's wanted list, was hiding and killed him when he fired on them as he tried to escape." Lo' ay Jehad El- Assadi, 26, was a West Bank leader of Islamic Jihad.
Both Reuters and Al-Jazeera reported that Israeli Colonel Aharon Haliva said that Majed Al Ashkar, who was also targeted and killed, fired first and both also reported that Palestinian witnesses said that he never fired.
Palestine Center for Human Rights reported the following: "Initial investigations by PCHR, and eyewitness accounts, indicate that at 22:00 on the evening of Sunday the 23rd of October, a large IOF force carried out an incursion into the city of Tulkarem and the two refugee camps to the east of the city, Nour Shams and Tulkarem refugee camps. IOF imposed a curfew on residents. IOF vehicles took positions in the Marba’at Hannoun area east of Tulkarem refugee camp. At about 22:30, a Palestinian civilian car (a white Subaru) was going from the western area of the refugee camp towards the area where IOF vehicles were positioned. Soldiers forced the car to stop, and forced the driver out of the car. Without warning, the soldiers fired at a person sitting in the backseat of the car. He was killed instantly. It was learned later that the man was Majed Sameer Al-Ashqar (28) from Saida village, north of Tulkarem.
After hearing the gunfire, an armed Palestinian came out of an alley to investigate the incident. IOF soldiers spotted him and fired, hitting him with two bullets to his leg and hand. He fired a few bullets at the soldiers, and took refuge in a nearby house belonging to the Asi family. The soldiers sent police dogs equipped with monitoring equipment after him. After determining his position, a group of soldiers pursued him and another took position on the roof of an adjacent house. The second group fired a rocket at the 3rd storey of the Asi family house. At the time, the man was climbing the stairs, and the soldiers fired at him from close range. He died instantly. Eyewitnesses informed PCHR’s fieldworker that they saw 10 bullets on the stairs leading to the 3rd storey of the Asi family house. PCHR’s fieldworker saw blood covering the stairs. "
The second dead man was Lo’ay Jehad El-Sa’di.
A Reuters video about the execution. Ahmed Qurei says "It's like pouring oil on the fire."
PCHR writes "It is noted that this extra-judicial assassination is the second of its kind since the Israeli newspaper, Haaretz, published on 9 October that IOF had announced a reduction in detention operations against 'key wanted activists' in the West Bank, who are expected to resist arrest. In this case, IOF could have arrested both Al-Ashqar and Al-Sa’di, but chose to kill them instead."
In addition "PCHR condemns this crime, and affirms that the policy of incursions, imprisonment, and willful killing perpetrated by IOF on a daily basis in the West Bank increases tension in the Occupied Palestinian Territory (OPT). These acts threaten to inflict additional Palestinian casualties. PCHR calls upon the international community to break its silence regarding these crimes. The Centre renews its demand to the High Contracting Parties of the Fourth Geneva Convention to fulfill their obligations and guarantee the right to protection for Palestinian civilians in the OPT."