On Sunday afternoon, 19 March 2017, officer of the Palestinian Security Services (PSS) was killed and another one was wounded. Further, a wanted gunman sustained serious wounds. This happened during an armed clash occurred between PSS and the gunman in Balatah refugee camp, east of Nablus. This incident is part of the state of proliferation of weapons and attack on the rule of law in the oPt.
According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 23:30 on Sunday, 19 March 2017, a number of PSS officers surrounded the Eastern Cemetery in Balatah Refugee camp, east of Nablus, to arrest a gunman, who is wanted for them and was near the cemetery. Armed clashes then occurred between both parties. As result, Hasan Abu al-Haj (21), a PSS officer from Brigade101 and living in Cooper village in Ramallah, was shot dead with a bullet to the head, and another officer was wounded. Moreover, the wanted gunman namely, Ahmed Naji Abu Hamadah (27) from Balatah refugee camp, was hit with two bullets to the back and neck. Abu Hamadah was taken to Rafidia Governmental Hospital in Nablus, and the medical sources there described his condition as critical. He stays now in the Intensive Care Unit (ICU) in the Hospital.
PCHR hereby condemns this crime and calls upon the Attorney General to investigate it seriously, reveal the circumstances and publish the results to the public. PCHR is also concerned over the increasing number of victims due to the use of firearms. Thus, PCHR calls upon the competent authorities to take the necessary measures to end the phenomenon of weapons proliferation and maintain civilians’ security and safety.