IDF on Qalandiya: Soldiers fired after feeling threatened
Initial IDF investigation claims IDF forces felt threatened by crowd of Palestinians throwing stones, rocks at them in Qalandiya. 'This refugee camp is no picnic or your run-of-the-mill checkpoint protest… They have death in their eyes,' a soldier said
According to the army's preliminary investigation, the IDF and Border Guard forces felt threatened and began to fire live rounds of ammunition in self defense despite the fact the Palestinians had not fired on them.
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An elite undercover Border Guard force entered the refuge camp and arrested a highly wanted Palestinian, purposefully revealing their identity. At this point, at round 5:30 am, whistles and jeers began emanating from the densely crowded area, and Palestinian youths began throwing rocks and large stones at the force. Then a back up perimeter force from the Artillery Corps awaiting nearby was alerted into the area to disperse the crowd and quell the potentially violent disturbance, the IDF's initial investigation claimed.
The forces then fired live rounds at the disturbances' chief instigators, which the army investigation claims did not respond to early warning shots and were posing a threat to the forces. The fire resulted in the death of three Palestinians and the wounding of 15 others. An IDF soldier sustained light injures and was treated on the scene.
The defense establishment backed the forces' actions and praised the fact the force successfully managed to complete the arrest despite the disturbances.
Qalandiya funeral procession (Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
IDF forces (Photo: Reuters)
A soldier with the force said that "the Palestinians were throwing things from the rooftops, windows and balconies, they threw anything they could get their hands on – rocks, boulders, metal sticks, slabs of stone – some them were only a meter from where the soldiers where, they weren’t afraid, not of tear gas or stun grenades. We only fired when it was life or death for our forces," the soldier said.
The IDF routinely makes arrests in the area, but Qalandiya is known to be dangerous because of its narrow winding alleys. "This refugee camp is no picnic or your run-of-the-mill checkpoint protest," the soldier said. "They have death in their eyes," he concluded dramatically.
After the incident, Palestinians sources said the man arrested by the IDF was a Palestinian who was released from an Israeli prison just a month ago.
(Photo: Ohad Zwigenberg)
Qalandiya refugee camp, Monday morning
Border police spokesman Shai Hakimi said officers were on a raid early Monday to apprehend a suspect who was released from prison a month ago, when over 1,500 Palestinians poured into the streets and attacked the officers with firebombs and rocks. Military sources said that the troops used crowd dispersal means, shot at the rioters' legs and were aided by a rescue force that employed similar riot control means.
The event occurred after Rovin Zaed and Younis Jahjouh, both in their 20s, were pronounced dead at a Ramallah hospital. Jihad Aslan died from his wounds shortly thereafter. Another 15 were injured, a hospital official said, speaking anonymously as he wasn't allowed to talk with the media.
Jahjouh was released from prison as part of the Shalit deal. The three died from gunshot wounds inflicted in nearby Qalandiya early Monday.
The office of Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas issued a statement condemning the killing of three Palestinians in Qalandia Monday morning. A spokesperson for Abbas said: "The chain of Israeli crimes and the continuation of building in the settlements are a clear message expressing the true Israeli intentions regarding the peace process."
He called on the American administration to intervene in order to prevent the collapse of international efforts in regards to the peace process.
Elior Levy also contributed to this report
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