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Temporary International Presence in Hebron (TIPH)
21 March 2003
One year since the fatal attack
on TIPH observers
On March 26 it is one year since the TIPH observers Turgut Cengiz Toytunç and Catherine Berruex were killed. The Turkish observer Hüseyin Ozarslan was wounded in the same attack. The TIPH will commemorate the tragic event with a ceremony on the premises at 11:00.
The TIPH members were driving outside Hebron just after sunset last year when gunmen opened fire at the car. Observers Toytunç and Berruex were fatally wounded in the first round of fire. Back seat passenger Ozarslan managed to throw himself down, and survived with minor shrapnel wounds.
Ozarslan called TIPH headquarters, who notified both the Israeli Defence Forces and the Palestinian Police Forces. Since the area was under Israeli control, the IDF arrived shortly after. A second round of gunfire erupted from a nearby hill, and the IDF responded. The three observers were evacuated. Toytunç and Berruex were already dead.
The case has been investigated by the Israeli authorities. Representatives from Turkey and Switzerland followed the initial investigation. The TIPH has periodically been informed about the later proceedings.
A Palestinian man is currently being prosecuted in an Israeli military court for participation in the attack. Representatives from the TIPH, the Turkish and Swiss embassies are present at the court hearings. A ruling is expected in May.
For further information please contact:
Ib Knutsen, TIPH spokesperson