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Occupied Palestinian Territories: Islamic Jihad Must End Attacks On Civilians

Group Claims All Israel Suicide Bombings Since February 2005

Islamic Jihad, the Palestinian armed group, should cease all attacks that target civilians and declare publicly that it will not carry out such attacks in the future, Human Rights Watch said today in a letter to Ramadan Shalal, the group’s leader.

Islamic Jihad has claimed responsibility for all six suicide bombing attacks against civilians inside Israel over the past year, killing 20 civilians and wounding scores, some critically. The most recent suicide bombing attack by the group was in a Tel Aviv restaurant on January 19. Islamic Jihad says that it has also carried out rocket attacks against Israeli towns, including an attack today that wounded a 7-month-old baby.

“Attacks that intentionally kill and maim civilians flagrantly violate the most basic humanitarian principles,” said Joe Stork, deputy director of the Middle East and North Africa division at Human Rights Watch. “These are among the very worst kinds of crimes, and all states have an obligation to bring the perpetrators to justice.”

Islamic Jihad frequently claims that these attacks are in response to Israeli attacks that kill Palestinian civilians. But the absolute prohibition against targeting civilians extends to acts of reprisal for attacks against one’s own civilians, Human Rights Watch said.

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