Israel Admits Using Nail-Bomb to Kill 3 Palestinian Women
Washington D.C. — Israeli military officials today confirmed that three Palestinian women, Nasra Malalha, 65, Samia Malalha, 37, and Hekmat Malalha, 25, were killed by flechettes fired from an Israeli tank on June 9. The women were killed as they slept in their home. Flechette shells, considered one of the most ruthless anti-personnel weapons, spray hundreds of dart-like nails in the general area at which they are fired. Hala Maksoud, President of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee (ADC) said “we strongly condemn the use of such weapons against Palestinian civilians, which is a clear violation of the Fourth Geneva Convention. ADC calls on the Bush Administration and Secretary of State Colin Powell to ensure that Israeli attacks on Palestinian civilians stop and that such brutal and indiscriminate weapons are never deployed in the Palestinian territories occupied by Israel. The United States government, which supplies massive amounts of military aid to Israel, cannot condone such outrageous attacks on Palestinian civilians and must act to end them at once.”
The attack on the Malalha home shocked even veteran observers of the conflict. Ben Lynfield, reporter for The Scotsman newspaper, wrote “A visit to al-Hadabe yesterday was enough to leave one revolted, even by the horrific standards of this conflict. Blood-stained sheets remained in the shack that became a death trap for the Malalhas. Nails had penetrated concrete, were stuck in a stone, in planks, a tree, a television antenna.” Muawiya Hassanein, the doctor in charge of emergency services at Gaza City’s Shifa hospital, said “There were more than a dozen nails in each one. They died because of the nail injuries. All three had nails in the head, chest and abdomen,” and said it was the fourth time he has treated people with nail wounds from Israeli shells.
The use of flechette shells is part of a pattern by Israel of targeting Palestinian civilians with the most deadly weapons of war at its disposal. In addition to indiscriminate use of live ammunition, Israeli forces have used tanks and helicopter gunships against unarmed protesters and had bombed Palestinian cities under Israeli occupation with F-16 jets. As a result, over 500 Palestinians, mostly unarmed civilians, have been killed in the past 9 months. Israel is also continuing it policy of extrajudicial executions of Palestinian activists, most notably through assassinations conducted by Apache helicopters and through car bombs. Yesterday, Israel attempted to murder, but only seriously injured, Palestinian activist Imad Abu-Diab by planting a bombing in his car. There have been numerous other Israel car bombings in the occupied territories in recent months.