Palestinian Shot Dead in Khan Yunis
Yesterday evening, a citizen was killed after being shot with several live bullets by a gunman in Khan Yunis, south of the Gaza Strip. This incident is part of the proliferation of weapons, assault on the rule of law and manifestations of social violence phenomenon in the occupied Palestinian territory (oPt).
According to investigations conducted by the Palestinian Centre for Human Rights (PCHR), at approximately 21:15 on Saturday, 19 June 2021, a gunman fired several live bullets from his pistol at Belal Rabah Hashim al-Bitar (40), who suffers from a mental illness and lives in al-Emarati neighborhood in western Khan Yunis, while present in front of Khan Yunis UNRWA Clinic. As a result, al-Bitar was shot with several live bullets (6-9) in his head, chest and lower limbs, killing him immediately before the shooter fled. Afterwards, the police arrived at the scene, took al-Bitar’s body to Naser Hospital in Khan Yunis and opened an investigation into the incident. In the evening, Ayman al-Batniji, Spokesperson of the Palestinian Police in Gaza, announced that the General Investigation Service (GIS) arrested the murder suspect of al-Bitar and referred him to investigation in order to complete the legal proceedings as a prelude to bring him before the public prosecution. Al-Batniji added that the pistol was confiscated.
Raied al-Bitar, victim’s brother, said to PCHR’s fieldworker that his brother suffered from a mental disorder and received treatment at a psychiatric hospital from 2012. He added that his brother used to wash cars parked in the western camp area, where he usually remains.
Initial information indicates that the suspect also suffers from a mental disorder, including schizophrenia and obsessive-compulsive disorder, and he has a file at the psychiatric hospital after his condition deteriorated 2 years ago. Moreover, initial information indicates that the suspect claimed during the investigation that the victim was tracking him, so he killed him.
It should be noted that the suspect was working at the Ministry of Interior, and he was let go from his work due to his mental condition.
PCHR condemns this incident, which constitutes an assault on the rule of law in the oPt. PCHR also calls upon the competent authorities to take strict measures to counter the misuse of weapons outside the rule of law.