Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Israeli Death Squads Still Active in West Bank

Magazine article Washington Report on Middle East Affairs

Israeli Death Squads Still Active in West Bank

Article excerpt

Israeli Death Squads Still Active in West Bank

Mohamad Abad al-Aziz Hilu, 57 years old and the father of 10 children, was murdered last month by an Israeli undercover squad known as Mistaravim -- an elite, dangerous, trigger-happy, secret group of soldiers who dress like Palestinians, infiltrate their towns and kill people with almost total impunity.

When Mr. Hilu and several other villagers discovered the squad in their village of Hizme, the three undercover agents fired at the men, wounding four of them in the legs, including Mr. Hilu, who they then grabbed and forced to the ground. One soldier sat on the back of Hilu's neck while another beat him on the head with a radio transmitter, according to testimony. Hilu was taken to a hospital where he was pronounced dead on arrival.

Later, an Israeli army spokesperson announced that Hilu had been shot and killed "by accident." Yossi Shoval, a spokesperson at Jerusalem's Hadassah Hospital, said "the cause of death can only be known after an autopsy; however, the physicians consider it very unlikely that he [Hilu] died from a wound to his knee." The IDF contend the family opposed an autopsy.

Hizme, a small West Bank village near Jerusalem, is entirely surrounded by Jewish settlements and has a newly built bypass road running right through the middle of it.

Now Mr. Hizla's widow finds herself not only alone with 10 children, but also facing house demolition orders. Israeli authorities plan to tear down her shack-like home and run her off the land where she and her children tend their sheep, their only source of income. …

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