Palestinian journalist shot at Gaza protest dies of wounds

Ahmed Abu Hussein, 25, injured April 13 during violent demonstrations on border, is second journalist said killed during Marches of Return

Illustrative image of Palestinian protesters evacuating a wounded youth during clashes with Israeli troops along the Gaza Strip border with Israel, east of Khan Younis, March 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Illustrative image of Palestinian protesters evacuating a wounded youth during clashes with Israeli troops along the Gaza Strip border with Israel, east of Khan Younis, March 30, 2018. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)

A Palestinian journalist shot two weeks ago by Israeli forces on the Gaza border has died in an Israeli hospital, Israeli and Palestinian sources said Wednesday, the second journalist killed in a month of unrest.

Ahmed Abu Hussein, 25, was shot on April 13 while covering protests along the Gaza border for a local radio station.

The Hamas-controlled Gaza Health Ministry announced he had died after receiving treatment inside Israel, which the Sheba hospital near Tel Aviv confirmed.

His brother Diaa said they were preparing to transfer the body to Gaza for the funeral.

Abu Hussein worked for Radio Shaab, a Gazan radio station, and was a photographer for another local news agency.

He was shot in the stomach while covering protests near Jabalia in northern Gaza, the Hamas-run health ministry in Gaza said.

Israel said after he was shot that he was a Hamas member, but offered no proof.

Some 10,000-15,000 Palestinians took part in violent riots in five locations along the length of the border on the day Abu Hussein was shot, the army said, as part of weekly Friday demonstrations. In addition to trying to breach and cross the barrier, they carried out a number of attacks, including throwing Molotov cocktails and explosives at Israeli soldiers.

Military sources were quoted telling Israel’s Channel 10 television that “Hamas operatives were at the forefront” of what they said were hours of riots, as opposed to the peaceful protests that the original organizers of the weekly marches claimed to have planned.

Rioters torched tires and burned Israeli flags as well as posters of Israel’s prime minister and defense minister. Large plumes of black smoke from burning tires rose into the sky.

The army, which has accused Hamas and other terror groups of utilizing the smoke as cover for efforts to bomb the border, said it used live fire and crowd dispersal methods in accordance with IDF open-fire regulations. Military sources quoted by Channel 10 said IDF snipers had orders to fire at the ankles of violent attackers.

Fellow journalist Yasser Murtaja was killed in the protests a week earlier.

Abu Hussein’s death brought the toll of Palestinians killed on the border by Israeli fire during demonstrations since March 30 to 41, according to Hamas-run Gaza health ministry figures.

Gaza leaders have planned the so-called Marches of Return to culminate in a million-strong march in mid-May, to coincide with Israel’s 70th Independence Day, the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, and Nakba Day — when the Palestinians mark what they call the “catastrophe” that befell them with Israel’s creation.

The “Return” refers to Palestinians’ demand that tens of thousands of refugees and their millions of descendants be allowed to live in today’s Israel, an influx that would spell the end of Israel as the world’s sole Jewish-majority state.

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