Amnesty International urges Palestinian groups not to use children in armed attacks
Amnesty International is "gravely concerned" about reports that on wednesday a 14-year-old Palestinian child was found to be carrying explosives when attempting to pass through the Israeli army checkpoint at Hawara, at the entrance of the West Bank city of Nablus.
Israeli reports indicated that the boy was wearing an explosive belt. According to Israeli army reports the boy may have intended to detonate the explosive belt, and thus commit suicide, near soldiers manning the checkpoint.
Last week, Israeli soldiers discovered a bag of explosives in the possession of an 11-year old Palestinian child at the same checkpoint. The boy, who regularly carried bags for travellers from one side of the checkpoint to the other, was reported not to have been aware that one of the bags on his cart contained explosives.
"Amnesty International has repeatedly condemned suicide bombings and other attacks against civilians by Palestinian armed groups as crimes against humanity. Using children to carry out or assist in armed attacks of any kind is an abomination. We call on the Palestinian leadership to publicly denounce these practices."
"Palestinian armed groups, including Hamas, Islamic Jihad and al-Aqsa Martyrs's brigades, must put an immediate end to the use or involvement of any kind of children in armed activity," Amnesty said.
© 2004 Al Bawaba (www.albawaba.com)