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From the field

Army dog attacked a mother and her 17 yr old son during an arrest operation inIdhna, 21 Dec. 2011

Update: On 13 May 2013 the MAG Corps informed B’Tselem that after examining the report by military personnel, a decision had been made not to launch an MPIU investigation in this case. In its letter, the MAG Corps explained that the account by military personnel stated that during the arrest operation of Samer ‘Awad, a member of the household, “the troops in charge of the dog that was part of a force searching the home for arms made an operative error. The IDF has recently addressed the use of dogs in arrest operations. In view of the fact that this was a case of an operative error that did not raise suspicions of criminality, a decision was made not to launch an MPIU investigation of the circumstances of the incident.”

On Wednesday, 21 December 2011, just after 1:00 AM, soldiers came to the ‘Awad home in Idhna, a village west of Hebron, to arrest Samer ‘Awad, age 24. One soldier instructed Samer’s father ‘Issa ‘Awad, age 52, to bring the entire family outdoors and hand over his son’s ID card. The soldiers then handcuffed Samer and took him away.

‘Amira and Kheirallah ‘Awad. Photo: Musa Abu Hashhash, 22 Dec. 2011
‘Amira and Kheirallah ‘Awad. Photo: Musa Abu Hashhash, 22 Dec. 2011

Samer’s mother, ‘Amira ‘Awad, age 47, was standing in the front doorway when an army dog suddenly attacked her. The dog sank its teeth into her arm and she shouted for help. Her son Kheirallah, age 17, ran over to help her.

Kheirallah told B’Tselem that he heard his mother’s screams and rushed over to her. He saw her trying to get a large black dog to let go of her arm. Kheirallah managed to pull his mother and the dog over to the living room where he closed the door on the dog’s mouth. The dog let go of the mother’s arm and backed off, but then attacked Kheirallah, grabbing on to his coat sleeve. Kheirallah fought with the dog and kicked it several times. A soldier came, kicked Kheirallah’s arm and shoved him against a wall of the house. The soldier then muzzled the dog and took him outside.

Kheirallah’s father, ‘Issa ‘Awad, asked that the soldiers for the name of their unit and of the soldier responsible for the dog, but they refused to give him this information.

A few minutes later, a Palestinian ambulance summoned by the family arrived and took ‘Amira ‘Awad, the mother, to the government hospital in Hebron. ‘She was treated for a superficial wound and went back home later that night.

Kheirallah, whose hand was in pain, went to the Idhna clinic the following afternoon because he’d been studying for an important exam. Two of his fingers had been broken and were put in a cast. On the morning of 22 December 2011, the day after the incident, ‘Issa and ‘Amira ‘Awad submitted a complaint at the Palestinian police station in Idhna. Their son Samer, who was arrested during the incident, was released that day .

B’Tselem called on the Military Investigation Unit to open an inquiry into this incident and was told that the matter is under investigation by the relevant military authorities.