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Yatta killings 'extra-judicial execution'

Nov. 28, 2013 3:27 P.M. (Updated: Nov. 29, 2013 9:38 A.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- The Palestinian Center for Human Rights on Thursday condemned the killing of three Palestinians in Yatta as an "extra-judicial execution," calling on the international community to take action.

"On Tuesday evening ... Israeli forces killed in two separate attacks of an extra-judicial execution and excessive use of lethal forces three Palestinian civilians in the vicinity of Yatta, south of Hebron," the group said.

"PCHR strongly condemns these two crimes that further prove Israeli forces' disregard for the civilians' lives. PCHR also calls upon the international community to immediately take an action to stop such crimes."

According to investigations conducted by the group, Moussa Mohammad Moussa Makhamra, Mahmoud Khalid al-Najjar, and Mohammad Fouad Jamil Nairoukh were driving a white Subaru on a dirt road east of Yatta on Tuesday at 6 p.m.

The vehicle was being followed by a Renault Kangoo car.

An Israeli infantry unit which had deployed in the area directly opened fire on the Subaru and the Renault. Soon after, a Mercedes 608 accompanied by a Mercedes bus and an Isuzu Jeep, all with Palestinian license plates, stopped on the bypass road.

Israeli soldiers stepped out of the vehicles and deployed in the area, and an hour and a half later brought a mechanized robot to pull the dead bodies of the men from their vehicles, the rights group said.

An object was taken out of the vehicle by soldiers and detonated, and at 1 a.m. Israeli forces delivered the bodies of Mohammad Fouad Jamil Nairoukh and Moussa Mohammad Moussa Makhamra to the Abu al-Hassan al-Qasem Hospital in Yatta.

Nairoukh was killed by three bullets to his chest and one to the right side of his forehead, according to medical sources. Makhamra was killed by a bullet to the right eye and a bullet to the right side of the neck. He was also hit in the chest and pelvis.

At 1.30 a.m., Israeli forces delivered the body of Mahmoud Khaled al-Najjar, 24, to the hospital in Yatta. He was reportedly killed by Israeli soldiers near a house in Yatta.

"After examination of the crime scene, it was found that Israeli forces had opened fire randomly at al-Najjar while he was walking near the house, due to which, he was hit by a number of bullets causing his death before he was taken to the hospital," PCHR said.

The rights group said it was "deeply concerned" by the killings, which show that Israeli military forces use extra-judicial executions and excessive force against Palestinian civilians.

Israeli police spokesman Micky Rosenfeld told Ma'an that the Palestinians were in a car near Hebron and fired on security officers, who responded by shooting and killing the occupants.

Rosenfeld said explosive devices were found in the vehicle.

The Palestinians "were members of a Salafi Jihad terrorist cell that was planning an attack in the coming days," Rosenfeld said.
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