Militants kill Palestinian informants

Gunmen display bodies of men who helped Israel

October 24, 2003|By NEW YORK TIMES NEWS SERVICE

JERUSALEM - Masked Palestinian gunmen carried out execution-style killings yesterday of two Palestinians suspected of being informants for Israel and placed their bodies in the central square of the Tulkarm refugee camp in the West Bank.

Palestinian militants have killed dozens of suspected informers or collaborators during the past three years of fighting. Such attacks often draw little attention, but the gunmen responsible for this shooting sought to publicize their deed both beforehand and afterward.

The two suspected informers, identified as Muhammad Faraj and Samer Ufi, both in their 20s, were among several kidnapped this month by Islamic Jihad, according to residents and Palestinian officials in Tulkarm. The other kidnapped men have been freed, they said.

While being held captive, Faraj and Ufi made a videotape in which they said they had helped Israeli security forces. On Wednesday evening, their captors played the tape on a television monitor set up in the camp's main square, and handed out cassettes to residents who did not attend, Palestinians living in the camp said.

Shortly after 6 a.m. yesterday, residents said they heard a series of gunshots. Moments later, the corpses of the two men were placed in the central square, and shortly afterward relatives removed their bodies, residents said, adding that the men had been shot in the head.

Islamic Jihad, which took responsibility for the killings, coordinated its action with Al Aqsa Martyrs Brigades, according to members of Al Aqsa.

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