Israeli forces kill Palestinian protester in Gaza

Girl wearing head scarf, seen from shoulders up, is comforted by woman while she cries

Palestinians mourn during the funeral of 25-year-old Fadi al-Najjar in Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip, on 7 June.

Ashraf Amra APA images

A Palestinian protester died after he was shot in the stomach by Israeli soldiers in the occupied Gaza Strip late Tuesday night.

Fadi Ibrahim al-Najjar, 25, was fatally injured by live fire during confrontations between Palestinians and Israeli soldiers along the boundary with Israel east of the Khan Younis area of southern Gaza.

Seven others were reported to have been shot and moderately wounded.

An Israeli army spokesperson told media that soldiers fired warning shots towards “dozens of Palestinians who attempted to damage the security fence” along the boundary, throwing rocks and rolling burning tires in the direction of the occupation forces.

Photo shows backs of youths crouching in agricultural field, one holding a Palestinian flag, with an Israeli military vehicle in the background

Palestinian protesters take cover during confrontations with Israeli occupation forces following a demonstration against the blockade of Gaza near the boundary fence east of Jabaliya, 5 June.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Additional injuries were reported at protests along the boundary with Israel in northern and central Gaza.

In May, a Palestinian boy was shot in the stomach and critically injured during a protest against Israel’s blockade of Gaza and in support of the mass hunger strike being waged by imprisoned Palestinians at the time.

Israeli soldiers operate under an apparent shoot-to-kill policy in Gaza’s boundary areas. Two Palestinian fishermen have died this year as a result of being fired on by the Israeli navy off the Gaza coast, and in March, a 15-year-old Palestinian was killed when he was shot in the head near Gaza’s boundary with Israel.

Al-Najjar is the 29th Palestinian killed by Israeli forces and armed civilians so far this year. Six Israelis, most of them soldiers, and a British national have been killed by Palestinians during the same time period.

Palestinian killed in Israel

On Monday, 28-year-old Muhammad Taha was shot and killed by an Israeli security guard during confrontations that broke out shortly before midnight in the town of Kafr Qasim in central Israel.

Taha’s father told media that his son had been in a protest tent erected in front of the town’s police station to demand action after two residents were murdered days earlier.

“When people learned of the arrest of a resident reputed to head the volunteer civil guard committee that has operated in the city for a number of years, tensions rose and confrontations began next to the police station,” the Israeli newspaper Haaretz reported.

Protesters threw stones and set fire to police vehicles:

Haaretz added that the security guard who shot Taha said he opened fire because his life was endangered, but witnesses said he shot at Taha’s head without warning. Taha died of his injuries at a hospital.

A member of Kafr Qasim’s popular committee told media that a large number of military reinforcements entered the town, where there were violent confrontations through dawn.

The committee member added that “the elderly in the town commented that this reminds them of the events of the massacre,” referring to the Israeli border police slaying of nearly 50 residents in November 1956.

“Widespread anger”

There is widespread anger towards the police, a resident of Kafr Qasim told Haaretz, as “The city is rampant with crime, and the police look for the head of the civil guard committee to arrest him.”

Thousands joined Taha’s funeral procession in the town on Tuesday:

Palestinians in Israel – who make up one-fifth of the population of the state – observed a general strike on Wednesday in mourning of Taha’s death.

Taha is the second Palestinian citizen of Israel killed by Israeli forces so far this year.

In January, Yaqoub Abu al-Qiyan, 50, was shot and killed by police during a home demolition raid in the village of Umm al-Hiran in the southern Naqab region.

The police claimed that Abu al-Qiyan was attempting a car ramming attack on police, but video and eyewitness testimony contradict Israel’s version of events.

A police officer was also fatally injured during the incident.

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Maureen Clare Murphy

Maureen Clare Murphy's picture

Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.