Gaza officials say journalist shot by Israel dies of wounds
GAZA CITY, Gaza Strip (AP) — A Palestinian journalist who was shot by Israeli troops while covering a demonstration on the Gaza-Israel border earlier this month died of his wounds on Wednesday, the Gaza Health Ministry announced.
With the death, Ahmed Abu Hussein became the second journalist to be fatally shot during weeks of Palestinian border protests.
Abu Hussein, 24, was wounded in the abdomen on April 13 at a protest near Jebaliya, in the northern Gaza Strip. He was later transferred to a Palestinian hospital in the West Bank, and then to an Israeli hospital, where he died Wednesday.
Photos and amateur video from the scene show him far from the border and wearing a blue jacket and helmet marked “TV” when he was shot. The video shows him in a group of bystanders located some 50 meters (yards) behind a wall of burning tires that had been set on fire by demonstrators.
Hussein was working for “Voice of People” — a radio station linked to the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine. The PFLP is considered a terrorist group by Israel, the U.S. and the EU.
Another journalist, Yasser Murtaja, was killed earlier this month while covering a protest. Israel has claimed he was a Hamas militant, but provided no evidence. His family has denied the claim. Murtaja had recently been hired by a Norwegian advocacy group and had also been screened by the U.S. government before his company received a USAID grant.
Since protests began in late March, 35 Palestinians were killed and more than 1,500 wounded by Israeli soldiers firing across the border. Rights groups say open-fire regulations are unlawful because they permit troops to use potentially lethal force against unarmed protesters. The U.N. and European Union have also questioned Israel’s use of deadly force.
Israel says it’s defending its sovereign border, including nearby communities, and that troops only target instigators. But a handful of amateur videos have contradicted this claim.
Israel accuses Hamas of using the protests as a cover for damaging the fence and preparing to infiltrate and carry out attacks. There is considerable fear among Israelis of a mass breach in which Gazans stream across, wreaking havoc or carrying out attacks.
The army had no immediate comment on Abu Hussein’s shooting.