Palestinian man dies after being shot by Israeli forces during Gaza protest
A Palestinian man died on Saturday after succumbing to wound sustained after being shot by Israeli forces during Friday protests in Gaza, local health sources reported.
The Gaza health ministry identified the slain Palestinian as 40-year-old Ahmad Jamal Abu Louli, adding that he had been shot by Israeli forces with a live bullet in the lower abdomen on Friday while participating in a demonstration as part of the Great March of Return.
For over four months, Palestinians have gathered along the "buffer zone" in Gaza near the fence separating it from Israel, calling for an end to the 11-year Israeli-led blockade on Gaza and for Palestinian refugees' right of return to the lands that their families fled during the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.
Abu Louli is the third Palestinian to be killed due to Friday's violence, after paramedic Abdullah al-Qattati, who was shot in the chest while treating wounded protesters, and 55-year-old Ali al-Alloul.
All three civilians were killed east of Rafah city in the Hamas-run Gaza Strip.
Friday's protests had followed a day of heavy exchanges between Israel during which Israeli strikes killed three Palestinians and missiles launched by Gaza-based factions injured seven Israelis.
Since the beginning of the Great March of Return on 30 March, the Palestinian ministry estimates that at least 167 Palestinians have been killed during protests, while Israeli forces stationed beyond the fence have wounded another 18,000 Palestinians protesting inside Gaza.
One Israeli soldier has been killed during the same time period.
In the early days of the protest movement, Palestinians were seen demonstrating on a near-daily basis in the leadup to Nakba Day – the commemoration of the expulsion of Palestinians from their homes during the creation of Israel – and the opening of the new US embassy in Jerusalem.
Now the protests occur mostly on Fridays, though pro-Palestinian activists have sought to find new ways to draw attention to Israeli oppression and abuses, such as flotillas of activists attempting to break the naval blockade.
Israel insists that Hamas, the de facto ruling party in the Gaza Strip, is behind the protests, an accusation fiercely denied by the activists who have led them.
In May, the United Nations voted to send an international war crimes probe to Gaza to investigate Israel's violent crackdown on the protests.
Last month, Israeli daily Haaretz reported that an internal Israeli investigation was set to absolve its military of responsibility for the dozens of unarmed protesters killed by live fire.