FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
This morning, international Human Rights Observers based in the Nablus area witnessed the direct aftermath of what the Israeli military is calling an “arrest operation” – a path of destruction and houses destroyed by gunfire and grenades. To the Palestinians of the Al Maskew and Al Shabir neighborhoods of Nablus, it seemed more like collective punishment for sheltering the fleeing Hamas fighter. Contrary to media reports from the Israeli military, the people of the neighbourhood claimed that the dead fighter did not live in the houses that were attacked by the military.
According to eyewitnesses, at approximately 12:30 last night the Israeli Occupational Forces approached the Al Maskew and Al Shabir neighborhoods of Nablus, which are located close to the Askar refugee camp. A Hamas fighter, Amjad Hanawi had entered the area and was being pursed by the Israeli military. The IOF remained in the neighborhoods until 6 AM and Hanawi was killed at approximately 5:00 AM. There was extensive property damage to 3 apartment buildings, both the interior and the surrounding yards.
At 11:30 this morning, nine Human Rights Observers visited the homes and the families to determine the extent of the damage and get eyewitness accounts. According to them, the Israeli military entered the homes and forced everyone to leave during the night. The men at this time were naked and not allowed to put on clothes, whereas the women were forced to undress while they were outside. The military were attacking from two nearby houses, to the east and west of the buildings. This was clear from the large holes left from grenades shot from M-16 rifles into the apartments, which were at either an upwards or downwards angle, but level with the apartments. There was also damage from explosions which left a wide spray of damage, much like a grenade or fragmentation explosive of some type. Bullet holes were everywhere and all the windows were smashed. According to the families, the Israelis had emptied the homes and continued to fire explosive devices into them, causing extensive property damage in a form of collective punishment. According to eyewitnesses, this all occurred after the wanted man had been killed.
The wanted man had been shot by the Israeli military while jumping over a wall outside the buildings, after which a bulldozer approached and buried him beneath the wall. While doing this the bulldozer did extensive property damage to the surrounding houses.
The ISM condemns this blatant violation of International Law and human rights. The practice of targeted assassination is condemned by the international community, as is the principle of collective punishment.