|News and opinions on situation in the Middle East|
|08/12/03||Rafah update - Shaheed at Mabaar|
|Sent: Monday, December 08, 2003 3:40 PM
Subject: Rafah update - Shaheed at Mabaar
Sunday 7th December, 2003
At about 8.00 am on Saturday 6th December, members of ISM Rafah were alerted to a situation at the Maabar border crossing into Egypt. They were informed that a young man had been shot and killed by Israeli soldiers near Mabaar and his family and an ambulance crew had attempted to recover his body but had been shot at from a tank which had parked next to his body.
Three activists - one Swedish, one American and one Palestinian - went immediately to Mabaar. They arrived at the site and saw the tank present where the body was located. Dozens of people were gathering on the scene. They tried to speak to the family of the dead man, but they were very distressed. People in the area called upon them to take action.
The Swedish and US embassies were contacted before the two internationals put on orange jackets and approached the body whilst trying to avoid the tank. They went forwards with about ten Palestinian women carrying an ambulance stretcher. They got very close and the soldiers did not fire, but the tank advanced and parked between the people and the body.
The soldiers in the tank shouted through a megaphone, "You people step back....if you move forward anymore you will expose your lives to extremedanger."
However, the internationals and the women proceeded cautiously. The Swedish activist shouted loudly to the soldiers in the tank, trying to identify himself to them. There was still no shooting.
An official from the Palestinian Authority then announcead that he had just received a signal from the Israelis that they would submit the body within five minutes. The group of Palestinian women and internationals were called back. As they returned, the tank withdrew from the site, allowing the body to be recovered. It was taken by ambulance to the Abu Yousef Al-Najar hospital in Rafah. The ISM activists accompanied a second ambulance to the hospital.
Sixteen year-old Jehad Alakhras worked at Mabaar as a baggage handler. He had been shot multiple times in different parts of the body, particularly the head.
Monday 8th December, 2003
Near Maabar Rafah (Rafah Crossing Point), the only route for Gazans to travel internationally, thick with crowd at all hours, and the military tower and tanks to control them, is the mourning house of Jihad Al-Akhras, the 17-year-old killed at six pm three days ago. These are his mother's words:
"My son worked at the Abour (Rafah Crossing Point). I have one other son who died before. They shot him at the door of his house.
"Jihad worked at the Abour and they shot him while he was not making any problem. We sleep here and they shoot at us here at night.
"Now, the army said 'leave this place (the Abour, where he was bag handling).' He ran away after the hearing it come from the loudspeaker from the tank which drove up. The tank said, 'Leave this place.' He put his hand on his head and said, 'I'm not doing anything.' They (the
Israeli army) said he's a commander. After that he pleaded but they didn't leave him - they shot and killed him.
"Now, the tank shot him in the foot. He ran away and put his hand on his head, pleading with the army not to shoot. Then he fell and took his hands off of his head and said 'Allah hu akbar' ('God is great') three times and they shot him again, a new bullet in the head. He said
'Allah hu akbar' because he wanted the people to come and save him but no one came. He is only a worker but they said he had a lot of . He worked with them, with the Israelis, at Maabar. Why did they shoot him? They say he is a ist, but that country is a ist country.
"He worked in order to pay for his studies and because he wanted to help his family. My son, my first son, when he went to his work they killed him. He is married with two children. This is his son. When he stopped at his door to walk out, they killed him. What has the media done for his case?
"Sharon is the biggest terrorist and Bush even more so. All the press gives false information, which is very unfortunate.
"Jihad's father doesn't work and he is very old. He has seven children. Because of that Jihad used to study, and when he finished studying, go directly to work at Maabar. What can I say? La ilaha ila Allah (there is no God but God).
"He's just a worker. Why did they make this with him, in his foot, in his hand, in his head? They shot out his brains and now his head is full of cotton. He's not black, but when he died his face was white and he was smiling. In the end what can I say? Say to the American people, from where are do the Palestinian people get bombs or guns? (This is a rhetorical question)"
After they shot Jihad, they kept people from retrieving his body until the morning. In the morning, crowds of people gathered and some women attempted to retrieve his body, which was being guarded by the military. They carried it about three meters before being ordered away. Internationals also attempted to retrieve the body, also unsuccessfully. In the end the army took him away toscan for weapons, and then discharged it to the Red Crescent ambulance that was waiting on the other side.
The Israeli army said they had seen him carrying a weapon and that he shouldn't have been out at night.
Five months before, the army shot Jihad's 28-year-old brother, Wael, as he was walking out the door to go to work. Two days later they demolished the family's home.
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