Saturday, October 31, 2020

3 Killed by live fire in Qalandiya Refugee Camp

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By Tim Vlostek - August 27, 2013
Section: [Main News] [IN PICTURES] [Life under Occupation]
Tags: [Qalandia Refugee Camp] [Qalandiya checkpoint]

All photos by Eugene Peres and Vivian Calle.

Early Monday morning, 26 August, Israeli military forces killed three young men inside the Qalandiya refugee camp, in the West Bank near the border with Israel. Witnesses reported that undercover Israeli forces entered the camp at around 5 AM to carry out an arrest. Residents in the camp were quickly alerted to the presences of the military and a large crowd gathered to confront the intruders. The squad of plainclothes Israeli police commandos had entered the refugee camp in order to arrest Yousef al-Khatib, a recently released prisoner.  The crowd reportedly trapped the undercover force inside the camp, and a confrontation quickly ensued as youth threw stones and firebombs at the Israelis and their vehicles, who then retaliated with live gunfire. 

The live ammunition killed Robin al-Abed, age 32 ,and Younis Jihad Abu al-Sheikh Jahjouh, age 22, both of whom were shot in the chest. Jihad Asslan, age 20, was killed as well. At least 15 others were injured by gunfire and sped to the Ramallah Medical Center for immediate treatment. Five of which remain in critical at the time of writing. Robin al-Abed, a local UNRWA employee, was not participating in the clashes and was on his way to work at the local UNRWA office when he was shot and killed, confirmed UNRWA later in the day.  

Luba Samri, an Israeli police spokeswoman, in comments made to the AFP, said, "In the early hours of the morning a border police team went into Qalandiya camp to arrest a hostile terrorist activist. After his arrest a mob of about 1,500 residents began a disturbance, throwing petrol bombs and stones, endangering the lives of force members, who responded with riot dispersal means," she said, but did not confirm any fatalities or the use of live fire.

This is the second raid by Israeli forces into a refugee camp that has lead to Palestinian deaths in the last two weeks. Last week, the Israeli military killed Majd Mohammad Anis Lahlouh, 22, while conducting a similar arrest-operation in the Jenin refugee camp, located in the northern West Bank.

A crowd of over 1000 attended the funerals for the three men. Masked gunmen from the Al-Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, the military wing of Fatah, fired gunshots into the air during the funeral procession that snaked it’s way through the refugee camp. Inside the mourning tent, erected in the basketball court of a school in the camp, men lined up to give their condolences to family members of the three who were killed. 

Later in the day, crowds of Shabab (or youth) gathered near the Qalandiya checkpoint, lit fires and threw stones at Israeli soldiers who responded with tear gas and stun grenades. Ahmed Nasser, a firefighter with the PA who was at the Checkpoint, said of the Israelis who had used deadly force in the camp, “They were scared, for sure, they go to a refugee camp especially like Qalandiya, they have orders to kill and they start to shoot live ammunition directly to [sic] people. Most of the injuries are from live ammunition to the head and neck.” 

Later in the day, large groups of young men roamed around downtown Ramallah, forcing stores to close in solidarity with the morning families. By 4 PM, Ramallah was a ghost town.  

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