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Israel Center for Human Rights: Suspicion that soldiers shot Palestinian farmer to death today without warning
B’Tselem, The Israeli Information Center for Human Rights in the Occupied Territories
18 Jan. ’09: suspicion that soldiers shot Palestinian farmer to death today without warning
A farmer from the Huza’ah village, Maher Abd al-Athim Yusuf Abu-Rajileh, age 24, was killed this morning by Israeli gunfire while working his land, some 400 meters from the Israeli border. His brother, Dr. Wissam Abu-Rijleh, told B’Tselem that in spite of the ceasefire, the soldiers opened fire without warning at dozens of farmers, killed Abu-Rajileh.
According to Dr. Abu- Rajileh, who spoke on the phone with B’Tselem’s researcher, following Israel’s declaration of a ceasefire, he went out with his family to their fields to survey the damage causes by the recent military operation. They went to the fields along with other residents of this village, located south-east of Khan Yunis. They reached the fields around 8:00 am, and were alarmed to see the extent of the destruction, which they described as if a tsunami had struck the area. According to Abu Rajileh, the agricultural area, including olive and fruit trees and greenhouses, as well as some 30 homes in the neighborhood closest to the border, were completely destroyed. The Abu- Rajileh family tried to salvage some trees that had been uprooted and buried, in order to use them for firewood. Dozens of people were there at the time, surveying the damage. Some Israeli jeeps were positioned on the border but the area was quiet.
According to Dr. Abu Rajileh, at about 10:00, without warning, intensive gunfire was directed at the farmers, lasting about 3 minutes. He fled the area and when he returned, he found the body of his brother on the ground.