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UNITED NATIONS
Department of Public Information · News Coverage Service · New York


PAL/1936
HQ/G/02/2003

7 March 2003

ELEVEN PALESTINIANS KILLED BY ISRAELI FORCES IN JABALYA REFUGEE CAMP

UNRWA Commissioner-General Hansen Expresses Sorrow and Distress

(Reissued as received.)


GAZA, 7 March (UNRWA) -- During an eight-hour incursion by Israeli forces into Jabalya refugee camp that began shortly before midnight on 5 March, eleven Palestinians were killed, including three youths under 15 years of age.  Some 140 Palestinians were injured.  Most of the deaths occurred when a tank shell was fired, in broad daylight, at a group of Palestinians attempting to extinguish a fire that was reportedly caused by Israeli forces.

This was the second incursion in as many days by Israeli forces into a refugee camp in the Gaza Strip.  On 4 March, eight Palestinians ranging in age from 13 to 33 were killed in Bureij camp, including a pregnant woman.  In each case, dozens of Israeli tanks, armoured personnel carriers and bulldozers were deployed in operations that resulted in heavy damage to homes and infrastructure, in addition to civilian deaths.

The United Nations Relief and Works Agency for Palestine Refugees in the Near East Commissioner-General Peter Hansen said:  “I am deeply distressed and saddened by the loss of life in Jabalya refugee camp, and by the indiscriminate and excessive use of force by the Israeli military in densely populated residential areas.  The relentless cycle of violence had only the day before claimed the lives of 15 Israelis, many of them children, in a suicide bombing on a bus in Haifa.  With each succeeding attack and counter-attack, the will to peace is weakened, and the prospect of a just solution to the conflict made ever more tenuous.”


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