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PCHR condemns Israel's 'extra-judicial execution' attempt in Gaza

Jan. 19, 2014 6:41 P.M. (Updated: Jan. 21, 2014 1:57 P.M.)
BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian human rights organization on Sunday condemned what it called an "extra-judicial execution attempt" by Israeli forces on the same day.

The Palestinian Center for Human Rights said in a statement that an Israeli airstrike that targeted a member of a Palestinian militant group serves "to escalate tension in the region and (threatens) the lives of Palestinian civilians."

The statement said that an Israeli drone strike seriously injured al-Quds Brigades member Ahmad Saad while he was riding his motorcycle in northern Gaza.

"Additionally, a passing child, 11-year-old Salah Fareed al-Ghuf, was injured by shrapnel to the right foot," the statement said.

The strike also damaged a Palestinian family's house and two buses, the PCHR statement said.

It said the attack was the first of its kind in 2014, and the second since April 2013.

"On 30 April 2013, an Israeli drone targeted and killed Hiatham al-Mis’hal, from Gaza City," the PCHR said.

"Since 2004, 636 Palestinians, including 392 civilians (this number includes 184 children and 14 women), have been killed and 438 others, including 401 civilians (this number includes 364 children and 4 women) have been wounded in attacks launched by Israeli drones."

The PCHR was "deeply concerned" about the attacks, saying they reflected "Israel's disregard for the lives of Palestinian civilians," and calling upon the international community to pressure Israel to stop them.

The Israeli army said in a statement that Sunday's strikes "successfully targeted a terrorist operative" named Ahmad Saad, who it described as "a senior operative in the 'Palestinian Islamic Jihad'" organization.

The statement added that Saad was a specialist "in rocket launching" and is "personally responsible for the launching of 5 rockets towards Ashkelon" on Thursday.

An Israeli military spokesperson said the attacks came after a homemade shell fired from the Gaza Strip landed in the Western Negev.

The airstrikes come days after four Palestinian children and a woman were injured in an Israeli bombing on Gaza early Thursday, and a day after after Israeli forces opened fire on Palestinian protesters near the border, injuring two.

An Egyptian-mediated ceasefire agreement was reached in November 2012 between Palestinian factions and Israel to end over a week of fighting which left over 170 Palestinians dead and thousands injured. Six Israelis were also killed during the fighting.

Since the agreement, Israeli forces have shot dozens of Gazans in border areas, and have launched frequent incursions.

The Gaza Strip has been under a severe economic blockade imposed by Israel since 2006.
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