Reports & Articles

“Shocking scenes” in West Bank refugee camp after Israeli bulldozer rampage

A heavy-duty military bulldozer razed stalls and dropped cars upside down during a violent raid which killed one Palestinian and injured one Israeli soldier.

Jerusalem24Nadeen Alshaer and Noelle Mafarjeh – As Israeli airstrikes resumed in Gaza, the residents of the Nur Shams refugee camp in Tulkarem in the occupied West Bank awoke to their own scenes of devastation and mourning on Thursday morning, caused by heavy-duty Israeli military bulldozers during an overnight army raid which killed a 66-year-old Palestinian man.

Israeli soldiers shot Ghazi Youssef Mustafa Shehab with live ammunition in the lower back during the raid. Shehab had been peering out from the café door where he drank his early-morning coffee every morning before dawn before heading to work inside Israel. He stayed conscious for a while on the café floor, but was no longer responsive by the time an ambulance managed to reach him. He succumbed to abdominal injuries around 12 hours later.

“Everyone was shocked by the scenes this morning,” a resident told Quds News Network. “Everyone is here now, looking at the destruction.”

In a video circulating on social media, a military bulldozer can be seen picking up a parked car and dropping it from a height across the street. An eyewitness told Quds News the bulldozer “turned the cars upside down” one by one.

The heavy-duty bulldozer is easily maneuvering across an empty street, and it is unclear why the vehicles are being removed and wrecked in the process.

Multiple shopfronts and street stalls were also damaged or razed in the camp.

“People and children are afraid,” the resident said. “My own five children couldn’t sleep all night long because of the horrible sounds.”

The Israeli army spokesperson’s unit told Haaretz a few days after the rampage that “the operation employed engineering machinery to clear the way and maintain the security of the forces, causing property damage along the way.”

The Israeli military stormed the camp shortly before dawn, triggering confrontations with stone-throwing youth and armed confrontations with Palestinian fighters in the camp. The Israeli army fired live ammunition, stun grenades, and gas bombs, injuring two Palestinians.

Palestinian media reported that the armed confrontations erupted after an Israeli undercover unit, hiding in a civilian vehicle with a Palestinian plate, was discovered in the camp. Israeli military reinforcement then followed, with large numbers of surveillance drones flying over the camp.

Local sources told Quds Press that the Israeli army came under heavy fire from Palestinian fighters, and that a soldier was injured. The Israeli military confirmed the injury in a statement this morning.

“Tell him to surrender or we will kill him”

The army arrested four Palestinians before retreating from the camp, including Mosab Abdel-Latif Sabbagh, Khalid Moath Al-Ghoul, and siblings Mohammad and Mahmoud Eleyyan.

The army also raided the family home of Abdel Jaber Sabbagh and detained his family when they didn’t find him home.

“The army stormed the house with dogs, they attacked us and the children,” Sabbagh’s mother told Quds News. “They blew the door downstairs [with explosives], they were hitting the walls hard, [like] there was something inside the walls.”

“They attacked us from all directions, we raised our hands and told them that we don’t have anything: it’s just me, my husband, and our children. I said please be quiet there are children inside the house and a pregnant woman. They said “okay, we just want you to stand beside the wall and give us your mobile phones.””

“They told me they want Abdel Jaber and to tell him to surrender or they will kill him. They told me to bring him to them within three days.”

West Bank town holds third funeral in 24 hours

Elsewhere in the occupied West Bank, a father-of-three succumbed on Thursday morning to the wounds he sustained after he was shot by Israeli soldiers during a military raid in the town of Qabatiya south of Jenin the day before, which killed another two Palestinians.

According to Fawaz Hamad, head of Al-Razi Hospital in Jenin, 30-year-old Aws Kmail was hospitalized “in critical condition” after being shot with live ammunition in the chest and abdomen, but after 24 hours, “all efforts to save his life were unsuccessful.”

The two Palestinian youths killed in Wednesday’s raid were identified as 18-year-old Ahmad Jamal Assaf and 24-year-old Rani Walid Qatnat.

As of Thursday afternoon, Israeli forces and settlers had now shot and killed 114 Palestinians including 20 children in the occupied West Bank including East Jerusalem since the beginning of the year; three inside Israel; 28 in Gaza; in addition to two who died of medical negligence inside Israeli prisons, bringing Palestine’s death toll to 144 in 2023.

30-year-old father-of-three Aws Kmail. [Source: media]

Nadeen Alshaer

Alshaer is a Palestinian journalist, a Birzeit University graduate with a B.A. in TV and Radio Broadcasting Journalism. Alshaer has 6 years of experience in journalism. She currently works as a reporter, editor and presenter/producer for PBC-Palestine TV and Jerusalem24 radio. She’s a UN and Kelley School of Business alumna.

Related Articles

Back to top button