Sun, Apr 08, 2018 - Page 1 News List

Palestinian journalist killed in Israel-Gaza protests

Reuters, GAZA CITY

Israelis look at the Israel-Gaza border line as Palestinian protestors clash with Israeli soldiers on Friday.

Photo: Reuters

A Palestinian journalist died yesterday after being wounded by Israeli fire on Friday while covering deadly protests along the Israel-Gaza border, health officials said.

Yaser Murtaja, 30, a cameraman for Palestinian Ain Media, was the 29th Palestinian killed in the week-long protests.

Photographs showed Murtaja lying wounded on a stretcher wearing a protective vest marked “Press” in large black capital letters.

A live bullet had penetrated the side of his abdomen and he succumbed to his wounds in hospital, health officials said.

An Israeli military spokeswoman had no immediate comment.

The protests began on March 30 along the Israel-Gaza frontier with daily demonstrations dubbed “The Great March of Return.”

Israel has stationed sharpshooters to stop attempts by Palestinians to breach the border or sabotage the security fence.

Freelance photographer Ashraf Abu Amra said he was next to Murtaja, whom he said was wearing a helmet and protective vest.

They were both clearly marked as journalists, Abu Amra said.

“We were filming as youths torched tires. We were about 250m from the fence,” Abu Amra said. “Israeli forces opened fire and injuries began. Yaser and I ran to film when suddenly Yaser fell to the ground.”

“I screamed to him ‘Yaser are you alright?’ He didn’t respond and there was blood on the ground underneath him. I knew it was a bad injury and people carried him away,” Abu Amra said.

Video footage showed Murtaja being placed in an ambulance with crowds around and black smoke billowing in the distance, where protesters had set tires alight.

Israel Radio, citing an unnamed source in Gaza, said Murtaja had been operating a camera drone on Friday.

Abu Amra and two other Palestinian journalists said Murtaja was not operating a camera drone when shot.

Murtaja had posted on Facebook two aerial photographs taken at the border in the past week. It was unclear if he had taken them.

At least three other journalists were wounded on Friday in other locations, Gaza officials said.

There have been no Israeli casualties in the protests so far.

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