At 8 o’clock last night Israeli flown, US made, F16s swept over Gaza City, shooting more than 40 flares into the night sky as a diversion, while three US donated Apache helicopters fired three missiles into a car, killing Said Arabeed and Ashraf al-Halabi from Hamas. It was a targeted assasination, illegal under the International Covenent on Civil and Political Rights, the UN Principles on Effective Prevention and Investigation of the Extra-Legal, Arbitrary and Summary Executions, and Article 147 of the 4th Geneva Convention. Will the US demand Israeli ‘regime change’ for this latest grave breach?
After 20 minutes, when a crowd had gathered to see what happened in the densely populated Asqula neighborhood in the al-Zeitun area of Gaza City, Apache helicopters fired two more missiles into the crowd. The bottom half of a thirteen year old boy’s face was blown apart. Many people, standing amidst the ground strewn with shoes and breathing smoke filled air, thought the boy was only eight. Closure of the Gaza Strip and water confiscation interfere with normal development for kids here. A man, looking around in circles, yelled, “I live here!”
Seven Palestinians died from this latest extra-judicial killing and over 50 were injured. Twenty-two of the injured are children. Shifa Hospital’s Emergency Room, generally operating over-capacity because there are so many injured due to Israeli shelling, shooting, and home and land demolitions, was packed with blood soaked people and worried families. Some were trying to climb in through the windows to search for loved-ones. Closure also means that supplies are limited, so many were being carried in on lawn furniture when gurneys and stretchers ran out.
The Israeli government has sponsored 25 targeted assasinations, which routinely kill many people at one time, in the Gaza Strip alone in the past two years. (source: Al-Mezan Center for Human Rights) The Israeli Supreme Court dismissed two appeals to cease the Israeli policy of extra-judicial killings of Palestinians.
As of 6am, Israeli Occupation Forces have reinvaded the northern Gaza Strip area of Beit Hanoun, killing three and injuring ten. One of the killed and most of the injured are children.
Kristen Ess 9 April 2003 Gaza City, Occupied Palestine