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Israeli soldier shot during Gaza protest dies of wounds

Barel Hadaria Shmueli was left in critical condition as Israel forces cracked down on demonstrations along the enclave's boundary
A Palestinian protester burns tyres following a demonstration along the border between the Gaza Strip and Israel east of Gaza City on 28 August 2021 (AFP)

An Israeli border policeman shot during protests at the Gaza boundary last week has died of his wounds in hospital, according to police.

Barel Hadaria Shmueli was shot in the head by a Palestinian gunman on 21 August during a protest at the border fence.

After more than a week on life support, he died on Monday.

Israeli Prime Minister Naftali Bennett said there weren't “sufficient words to console the family in its deep mourning".

'Mr Bennett didn’t even know his name, asked which hospital he was in. What an embarrassment'

- Nitza, Barel Hadaria Shmueli's mother

Protests have been ongoing for weeks at the Gaza boundary fence, with Palestinians calling for the blockade - imposed on the territory since 2007 - to be eased.

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Bennett managed to provoke controversy on Monday after The Shadow, a far-right activist and rapper, released an audio clip of the prime minister speaking to the soldier's father Yossi Shmueli. In it, Shmueli calls Bennett a "coward" and then berates him for getting his son's name wrong.

Bennett can be heard on the audio asking the father where "Yossi" was hospitalised, to which he replies "It’s Barel, his name is Barel.”

The controversy was picked up on by former prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who branded the incident "disgraceful" in a Facebook post.

Shmueli's mother, Nitza, also told 103 FM Radio that she had received a phone call from Netanyahu, who she praised in comparison to Bennett's stumbling.

Gaza: Palestinian boy shot by Israeli army dies from wounds
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“Benjamin Netanyahu called at midnight, with questions and well wishes. He cried on the phone - he cried,” she said, according to Times of Israel.

“He knew every detail, asked about his surgeries. Mr Bennett didn’t even know his name, asked which hospital he was in. What an embarrassment.”

An 11-day conflict in May between Israel and Gaza's ruler Hamas saw the worst violence in the area since 2014.

At least 260 Palestinians were killed as Israel bombarded Gaza, according to the Palestinian health ministry. Thirteen Israelis were also killed by rocket fire.

The besieged enclave's health ministry said on Saturday that a 12-year-old Palestinian boy shot by Israeli soldiers during the same demonstration that Shmueli was wounded at had died from his wounds.

Omar Hasan Abu al-Nil, from the Tuffah neighbourhood of Gaza City, was shot with a live bullet during the rally, which marked the 52nd anniversary of an arson attack on al-Aqsa Mosque in Jerusalem.

Around 40 people were wounded by Israeli forces on 21 August, including 32-year-old Osama Khaled Ideij, who died on Wednesday.

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