A 12-year-old boy who Hamas officials said was shot dead by IDF snipers during Friday Gaza border protests had played a “martyr” killed by Israeli troops in a film widely shared on Palestinian social media earlier this month.
In the clip, Majdi al-Satari and his friends are seen hanging a flag on a fence that is meant to symbolize the one between Gaza and Israel. They then try sabotaging the barrier before “Israeli soldiers” shoot dead al-Satari.
In the film, the 12-year-old is then placed on a stretcher, draped in a Palestinian flag, and carried away by his friends — in a scene that was eerily similar to the one that unfolded Saturday afternoon during his joint funeral Saturday with the two other Gazans said killed during Friday protests.
The other two casualties were 17-year-old Moumin al-Hams and 43-year-old Ghazi Abu Mustafa, according to the Hamas-run Gaza health ministry, which said the latest deaths brought to 18 the number of minors killed in the past four months.
Alaa Abdel-Fattah, a witness, said that on Friday protesters were trying to cut razor wire about 50 yards away from the actual fence. He said Majdi was watching from about 100 meters away. “There were two gunshots from a sniper. One hit one of those cutting the wire in the leg and the other gunshot hit the boy in his head,” he told the Associated Press.
The IDF said it could not comment on his death.
Women gathered under the corrugated zinc roofing of the al-Satari’s family’s house for the funeral.
Majdi’s mother, Kholoud, wearing a black robe and face veil, sat on a mattress.
“I don’t know what he did to them [the Israeli soldiers],” she said as she burst in tears. She added that his family tried to prevent him from going to the protests and on one occasion tried to lock him indoors. “It’s his fate,” she sighed.
“He is a child. He had no bullets or weapons,” said the boy’s grandmother, identified as Umm Ramzi. “He was standing like all children watching. They shot him from afar. Isn’t he a child? Why are they targeting children?”
The United Nations envoy for Middle East peace on Saturday condemned the death of al-Satari
“Yesterday’s killing of a 12-year-old Palestinian boy by Israeli fire in Gaza is shocking and tragic,” Nickolay Mladenov wrote in a post on his social media accounts.
“Children are not a target! Too many lives have been lost,” he added. “It’s time for this to stop.”
In a nearby town, resident Hassan Najjar said he witnessed the shooting of 43-year-old Abu Mustafa.
He said soldiers shot at a group of Palestinians who rushed to the border and a bullet hit the man sitting about 250 meters away. He said the man had sustained leg wounds at a previous protest and was still using crutches.
According to the Gaza health ministry’s figures, 157 Palestinians have been killed since the start of the violent “March of Return” protests in late March. Hamas, the terror group that runs Gaza, has acknowledged that dozens of those killed were its members.
The IDF said around 7,000 Palestinians participated in violent riots in several locations along the border on Friday. Protesters hurled rocks and burned tires, and attacked troops with pipe bombs, a Molotov cocktail, and a grenade — all of which did not manage to clear the fence and fell in Gazan territory.
The army said soldiers responded to the violence with less-lethal means as well as live fire in certain instances. Israel says it only opens fire when necessary to stop infiltrations, damage to the fence and attacks.
Israel says Hamas uses the marches as cover for terrorist attacks.
Gaza snipers shot dead an IDF soldier, Aviv Levi, and injured another in two separate incidents last week.
Some time after the protests ended on Friday, gunmen fired at IDF soldiers near the border, causing no casualties. In response, the military launched a strike on a nearby Hamas observation post.
Also Friday, the Israeli military carried out an airstrike on a squad of Palestinians in northern Gaza as they flew incendiary balloons towards Israel, the army said. Palestinians said there were no casualties in the attack.