Army Says Troops Violated Regulations in Raid That Killed Five
JERUSALEM (AP) _ An army report released today said Border Police violated regulations on the use of live ammunition when they raided a village and killed five Palestinians. It recommended punishing at least four officers.
Also today, soldiers fatally shot a Palestinian who broke through an army roadblock, and Arab assailants gunned down a Palestinian suspected of collaborating with Israeli authorities.
In Beirut, a group calling itself Islamic Jihad in Palestine claimed that one of its members was responsible for the stabbing death Wednesday of two elderly Israelis in Jerusalem. Police have said the man acted on his own.
The army report resulted from an investigation into the April 13 raid by paramilitary Border Police on the West Bank village of Nahalin. In the occupied territories, the Border Police are under army command.
Villagers in Nahalin alleged officers fired indiscriminately as residents emerged from morning prayers.
The officers said they fired after being confronted by stone-throwing villagers. Five people died and at least 18 were wounded.
The investigation said there were ″deficiencies uncovered in ... operational planning, briefings and preparations, command and control as well as deviations from regulations, including the use of live fire.″
It called for transferring to other posts the Border Police commander in charge of the raid and his company commander.
The report also recommended transferring the lieutenant colonel in command of the army’s Bethlehem district and reprimanding a colonel in charge of the region. It did not give any names.
The report, approved by Defense Minister Yitzhak Rabin, also called for possible disciplinary steps against two Border Police officers.
It urged a police investigation of all troops involved but noted that in some cases the police faced ″life-threatening situations″ that would allow them to fire live ammunition.
Army regulations call for troops to use tear gas and rubber and plastic bullets before resorting to live ammunition to to disperse rioters.
But the report said villagers shared responsibility for the bloodshed by inciting violence against troops who were carrying out legitimate security duties.
In today’s clashes, a Palestinian was shot and killed when he refused orders to stop at an army roadblock near the West Bank town of Qalqiliya, a military spokesman said.
And in the West Bank village of Mughayer, assailants shot to death Tayseer Issa Assad, 28, after accusing him of collaborating with Israeli authorities, Arab reports said. The army confirmed the shooting and said it was investigating.
At least 460 Palestinians and 20 Israelis have died in the 17-month Palestinian uprising in the occupied West Bank and Gaza Strip.
Two Israelis were killed Wednesday and three were seriously injured when a Palestinian man shouting ″God is great 3/8″ attacked them with a knife as they waited at a Jerusalem bus stop.
Islamic Jihad in Palestine released a statement to Western news agencies today saying the attacker was ″one of our strugglers.″ The group also claimed responsibility for an attack at the Wailing Wall in Jerusalem in October 1986 in which one Israeli was killed and 69 wounded.
But Jerusalem police said the attacker, identified as Nidal Abdel Razik Zaloum from the occupied town of El-Bireh, maintained he was acting on his own to avenge the arrest and beating of a brother.
In the West Bank, Jewish settlers launched armed patrols in Hebron, saying they would fire on stone-throwers in the Arab city of 79,000 people.
Army orders restrict use of gunfire to life-threatening situations. ″We will shoot to hit them, not to kill,″ patrol organizer Aharon Domb told the Jerusalem Post newspaper.
Early this morning in Hebron, 200 residents from the nearby settlement of Kiryat Arba went on a rampage, smashing Arab cars and throwing stones at houses, Arab reporters and Israel radio said.
In the West Bank village of Mughayer, assailants shot to death Tayseer Issa Assad, 28, after accusing him of collaborating with Israeli authorities, Arab reports said. The army confirmed the shooting and said it was investigating.