Skip to main content

Israeli forces open fire at Palestinian camp

By Kareem Khadder, Ben Brumfield and Mike Schwartz, CNN
August 27, 2013 -- Updated 0029 GMT (0829 HKT)
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Palestinian medics say three killed; Israel military says at least two
  • Israelis says it was self-defense; Palestinians say it was an act of aggression
  • Israeli and Palestinian leaders began direct peace talks in mid-August
  • The camp is under Israeli control, and Jerusalem considers it its territory

Jerusalem (CNN) -- Israeli security forces opened fire on a group of Palestinians at a West Bank refugee camp early Monday, killing three, according to Palestinian medics.

Israel Defense Forces confirmed the shooting, but said two people had died in what the military described as a case of self-defense.

Security forces had to put down a potentially deadly attack from a violent Palestinian mob, an IDF spokesman said.

Palestinian legislator Dr. Mustafa Barghouti said the shooting was an act of aggression. He accused Israel's military of assaulting private homes and wounding Palestinians inside their own four walls.

Israeli & Palestinian on new peace talks

The Israeli version

Under the cover of darkness, Israeli security officers detained a terrorism suspect southeast of Ramallah, when hundreds of Palestinians began rioting, the IDF said.

They hurled stones, endangering the officers' lives.

The Israelis called for help from IDF troops nearby tasked with securing their operation. They found it necessary to apply the method of last resort.

"A large violent crowd such as this that significantly outnumber security forces leave no other choice but to resort to live fire in self-defence," said IDF spokesman Peter Lerner.

The Palestinian account

That's not how it happened, Palestinian sources said.

Palestinian officials and witnesses at the scene said Palestinians threw stones from rooftops only after Israeli troops raided the camp during an arrest operation.

Israeli special forces attacked residences at the Qalandia refugee camp, Barghouti said. Then a "very big number" of army troops followed in behind them "and started shooting sporadically."

"They transformed Qalandia camp into a war zone," he said.

The Israeli troops hindered ambulance workers who were trying to tend to the wounded, which cost the third victim his life, he said.

Israeli forces arrested two people, Barghouti said. One of them was a former prisoner whom Israel had released in a group of more than 1,000 in 2011 in exchange for the safe return of Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit.

Shalit was abducted and held by Hamas in 2006.

Peace negotiations

Barghouti said the shooting, and also plans to expand Jewish settlements on the West Bank, undermine current peace talks between Israeli and Palestinian leaders, which started in mid-August.

The issue of settlements derailed the last round of direct talks in 2010. They resumed this year after strong encouragement by U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry.

As a gesture of goodwill, Israel began releasing more than two dozen Palestinian prisoners on the eve of new peace talks. Some of them had been held for more than 20 years.

At the same time, Israel said it would forge ahead with a plan to build more than 1,000 housing units in East Jerusalem, which the Palestinians hope will be the capital of their future state.

Israel considers East Jerusalem and Qalandia camp part of Greater Jerusalem, the United Nations says. The camp for Palestinian refugees is under Israeli control.

Children make up the bulk of its 11,000 inhabitants, the U.N. says.

CNN's Mike Schwartz and Kareem Khadder reported from Jerusalem; Ben Brumfield wrote and reported from Atlanta.

ADVERTISEMENT
Part of complete coverage on
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1331 GMT (2131 HKT)
A terminally ill woman who plans to take her own life checks off the last item.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0115 GMT (0915 HKT)
Armed with Kalashnikovs and chanting for the dead comrades, women are among ISIS' most feared enemies. They are fighting for their families -- and now they are getting U.S. help.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1246 GMT (2046 HKT)
Lere Mgayiya put his best foot forward and set up a shoe-shine firm after his career plans fell flat.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0528 GMT (1328 HKT)
One Chinese drone manufacturer wants to take away the warmongering stigma of "drones."
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 0312 GMT (1112 HKT)
Sketcher Luis Simoes is traveling the world -- slowly. And he's packed his sketchbook.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 2043 GMT (0443 HKT)
European states help North Korea's brutal treatment of its people by allowing luxury goods like cars and cognacs to evade sanctions, two experts say.
October 29, 2014 -- Updated 1520 GMT (2320 HKT)
Groping, lewd comments, and that's not the worst of it.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 0133 GMT (0933 HKT)
British hostage John Cantlie appears from the battle city of Kobani.
October 28, 2014 -- Updated 1443 GMT (2243 HKT)
A captured fighter tells CNN's Ivan Watson: "They gave us drugs... that made you go to battle."
October 24, 2014 -- Updated 0345 GMT (1145 HKT)
Chinese leaders want less odd architecture built in the country.
October 30, 2014 -- Updated 1106 GMT (1906 HKT)
Each day, CNN brings you an image capturing a moment to remember, defining the present in our changing world.
Browse through images from CNN teams around the world that you don't always see on news reports.
ADVERTISEMENT