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Gaza protester injured by Israeli fire dies in hospital

April 28, 2010 3:06 A.M. (Updated: April 30, 2010 9:03 A.M.)
Gaza – Ma'an – A 21-year-old man protesting Israel's no-go zone in Gaza was killed on Wednesday, after Israeli forces opened fire on the march and hit the young man in the leg. Medics said he died in hospital.

The man, identified by activists as Ahmad Salem Deeb, was the fourth to be injured in three days as protests against the enforcement of the no-go zone continue.

Reports from members of the International Solidarity Movement in Gaza said Deeb was shot 30 meters away from the Gaza-Israel border. A statement from the activist group said protesters were waving flags and chanting slogans demanding the cessation of Israeli control over the no-go area when shots were fired.

The young man had joined in a protest that left from the Ash-Shuja'iyya neighborhood east of Gaza City, and marched toward the border area. Areas of the no-go zone were expanded from 150-meters to 300 meters in some places, and are regularly patrolled by Israeli forces, who term the area a "combat zone," citing "terrorist activity" in the area.

Muawiya Hassanein, chief of emergency and ambulance services in Gaza, the unidentified young man sustained moderate injuries, and was transferred to the Ash-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City for treatment. Hours later the official said Deeb had succumbed to his wounds and died.

An Israeli military spokeswoman said the man's death was under investigation, but confirmed that forces fired shots when a group approached the border area.

The official said a violent and illegal riot preceded the fire, and that participants threw rocks at the Nahal Oz crossing and set small fires nearby. Forces fired warning shots to distance them from the fence, she said.

The military considers the area a combat zone, the spokeswoman added.

In the following video, filmed by Muhammad Sabah, B’Tselem’s Gaza field researched, a group of Palestinians and internationals is seen walking from the Ash-Shaj'iya neighborhood, east of Gaza City, toward the Israeli border fence. The youths reach a distance of a few dozen meters from the border, facing an Israeli military post. A soldier is seen near the post, observing events. None of the protesters are armed.

According to B’Tselem, the video shows a group of youths, some of them throwing stones at the military post. There is a sound of one shot. The injured youth is seen evacuated to receive medical treatment. He died later of his wounds. A previous shot, which was fired approximately 10 minutes earlier, was not captured on tape. The video was edited for length, B’Tselem noted.

Eating up 20% of Gaza's arable lands, farmers and civilians have demanded access to the area, which lies insude the 1967 boundaries, and from which Israel said it unilaterally withdrew in 2005.

Palestine People's Party politburo member Walid Al-Awad told Ma'an that hundreds of residents participated along side the victim, and marched toward the buffer zone waving Palestinian flags.

On Monday, a woman from Malta and three Gaza residents were wounded, one seriously, when Israeli forces fired on a protest near Khan Younis.

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