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From the field

Suspected execution of Mahmud Kmel and use of Palestianians as human shields by IDF soldiers in Raba, Jenin District, 3 Dec. 2004

Tayil Al-Bazur, Age 45

Tayil Al-Bazur

On Thursday night, Mahmud A-Dab'i, my niece's husband, came to my house. He told me that he intended to sleep at my house. I welcomed him like I would welcome a family member. I was at home with my wife and my children: Ahmad, who is nine, Amin, 8, Sanaa, 19, who is married and was visiting, Nasrin, 18, and Intissa, 14.

Around 10:30, I left Mahmud alone in a room, and went to sleep with my children and wife. Around 5:00 A.M., I heard explosions near the house. I also heard a voice call out of a loudspeaker: "Come out and raise your hands." I realized that the army was in the area. I went to the room where Mahmud was and saw that he was already up and dressed and holding his cellular phone. He asked me where the army was, and I told him that, based on the direction the voices were coming from, the army was to the east, because there weren't any sounds coming from the western and southern sides. He tried to jump out the window, but I stopped him. He left through the door on the northern side of the house. After he left, I heard three to five shots fired one after the other. I did not know if the shots hit him. Meanwhile, somebody was calling over the loudspeaker for people to leave the houses with their hands raised. I decided to go outside with my wife and children. We opened the eastern door, which faced the area where the army was, and went out with our hands up in the air. The soldier who was talking over the loudspeaker ordered us to come toward him. I did not notice if the loudspeaker was on the jeep or was held by one of the soldiers, because the soldiers shone the lights at us.

When we reached the soldiers, near "Amjad's" house, they ordered me to go to another group of soldiers, who were near the house belonging to Qassem, another neighbor of ours. The soldiers had my two sons, Ahmad and Amin, stay near the jeep. Soldiers led my wife and daughters to Qassem's house. When I got close to the soldiers, a soldier ordered me to pull up my shirt, and drop my pants. Then he order me to walk toward them. A number of soldiers were positioned near Qassem's house. There were about 30-40 soldiers. One of the soldiers kept talking to me in Arabic. He asked me, "Who left your house? Was it Mahmud? Was he the one who left your house?" I tried to deny it. He said that he would show me the film. I ignored what he said and kept denying it. He said that he would tear me apart if I didn't tell him the truth, but I stood firm. He ordered me to walk toward my house, and to go over to the pole and take a look. When I got to the electricity pole near my house, another soldier, who was in our neighbor Suleiman's house, shouted at me: "Not here, up there! Up there!" I walked over to the corner of the house, where I saw Mahmud lying on the ground.

Before I reached him, the soldier who had spoken with me earlier from below Suleiman's house told me to go over to him. He and another 15-20 soldiers were under Suleiman's house. When I was about ten meters from them, one of the soldiers said, "Go and drag him over" I told him that I had a slipped disc and wasn't able to drag him. The soldier insisted, so I went over to Mahmud. He asked me to drag him to them so that they can give him first-aid. I told him that I can't. I tried to lift him up, but I couldn't. On my way back, my neighbor, Suleiman Qasrawi , came and the two of us went over to him. The soldier ordered us to bring him the cellular phones. I gave one of cell phones to the soldiers before Suleiman arrived. When he arrived, we tried to pick him up. He found a gun in Mahmud's pocket. He held the pistol and told the soldiers, "He has a pistol!" The soldier ordered him to bring him the pistol. Suleiman went over to the soldiers, holding the pistol. After he gave them the pistol, he came back to me and told me that the soldiers insisted that we drag him over.

Mahmud was leaning on us, and he said that the soldiers might give him first-aid. Suleiman and I walked with Suleiman leaning on us, his arms around our shoulders and our hands supported his legs, so that he sat on our arms, like on a chair. When we got halfway between my house and Suleiman's house, a soldier who was on the south side of my house shouted: "Put him down." We set him down on the ground. Another soldier, who was under Suleiman's house, shouted at us to bring him over, and we continued to walk toward Suleiman's house. When we were a few meters from Suleiman's house, the soldier ordered us to put him down. He ordered Suleiman to go over to Mahmud and get his cell phone. Suleiman took the cell phone and told the soldiers that the guy said his name was Mahmud A-Dab'i.

The soldiers told Suleiman to leave, and he did. I walked away with the soldiers guns aimed at me. I walked about 20-30 meters and then heard four or five shots. When I looked, I saw Mahmud's body jump up a bit. I stopped in the middle of the road. One of the soldiers called to me in Arabic: "Come here!" I went back to the soldiers. One of them said: "Mahmud has a wallet, go bring it and see what is inside!" I went over to Mahmud and saw that he was dead. He had been hit in the head, and blood was splattered on the ground. I searched him, but did not find the wallet. I told the soldiers that I didn't find anything. The soldier told me: "Go home and look for the wallet." I went and found it on the ground where he had fallen the first time. I gave the wallet to the soldiers. One of the soldiers opened it, took out some papers and notepads, and counted the money. There was more than NIS 450. I don't remember how much exactly. He told me: "Take the money and give it to his widow. If you continue to act as you have, you'll pay with your life."

Earlier, Mahmud had been wounded lightly in the neck, and was not bleeding much. The blood came from the back of his head. He spoke in a normal way to Suleiman and me.

Tayil Muhammad Al-Bazur, 45, married with seven children, laborer, resident of Raba The testimony was given to 'Atef Abu a-Rob on 3 December 2004 at the witness's home.