On Friday, 17 November 2017, 18 civilians, including 9 children, were wounded after unknown persons opened fire at them in ‘Asira al-Qibliya village, southeast of Nablus. This incident is part of the state of proliferation of weapons and assault on the rule of law in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt)
According to the Palestinian Center for Human Rights (PCHR’s) investigation, at approximately 19:00 on Friday, 17 November 2017, a demonstration headed by masked gunmen was organized in ‘Asira al-Qibliya village, southeast of Nablus, in commemoration of Late Palestinian President Yasser Arafat. The participants wandered the village streets and stationed in the center of the village. An altercation occurred between the demonstrators and village residents. After that, other gunmen took cover in an uninhabited house and opened fire at the demonstrators from a hunting rifle that was with one of them. As a result, 18 civilians, half of them are children, were sustained riffle’s bullet shrapnel wounds. The wounded civilians were taken to Rafidiya Hospital in Nablus to receive medical treatment.
Lieutenant colonel Louay Zreiqat, Spokesperson of the Palestinian police, said to local media, “Civilians sustained minor wounds after being hit with riffle’s bullets in a civilian assembly in ‘Asira al-Qibliya village.” Zreiqat added that the police opened investigation into the incident and arrested 4 suspected persons. Meanwhile, the security services worked on restoring calm to the town.
From another side, Islamic and National Factions and Organizations in ‘Asira al-Qibliya issued a statement saying, “Suspicious and hired persons intentionally opened fire at the village young men and children.” They also called upon Nablus Mayor and security services to punish those involved in this crime.”
PCHR condemns this crime, which led to the injury of 18 persons, including 9 children, and calls upon the Attorney General to open a serious investigation into this incident and publish the results in public. PCHR is also concerned over the increasing number of victims due to the use of firearms and so calls upon the competent authorities to take all necessary measures to end the proliferation of weapons and maintain civilians’ security and safety.