Israeli forces killed a Palestinian nurse on Friday as she tried to help a wounded protester at the Gaza border, according to health officials and a witness, while Israel said “militants” had attacked its troops with gunfire and a grenade.
Razan Al-Najar’s death brought to 119 the number of Palestinians killed in weekly demonstrations launched on March 30 in the Gaza Strip, an enclave long subjected to grinding Israeli and Egyptian embargoes.
Najar, a 21-year-old volunteer medic, was shot as she ran toward the fortified border fence, east of the south Gaza city of Khan Younis, in a bid to reach a casualty, a witness said.
Wearing a white uniform, “she raised her hands high in a clear way, but Israeli soldiers fired and she was hit in the chest,” the witness, who requested anonymity, told Reuters.
An Israeli military spokeswoman had no immediate comment on Najar’s killing, but later said in a written statement that the IDF will ‘investigate’ Najar’s death. Israeli officers have previously said that army snipers target only people posing a threat, but that the bullets can sometimes run through them or ricochet, hitting bystanders.
At her house in Khan Younis, Najar’s mother collapsed in grief as she was handed her daughter’s blood-stained uniform.
A statement from Gaza’s Health Ministry mourned Najar as a “martyr”. Interviewed by Reuters interview in April, she said she would see the border protests through until their end.
“I am returning and not retreating,” Najar’s last Facebook post said, adding:
Hit me with your bullets. I am not afraid.
Thousands of people attended al-Najar’s funeral in Gaza on Saturday, including some she had treated when they were wounded at previous border protests. Her body was wrapped in a Palestinian flag and carried through the streets on a stretcher by mourners.
“With our souls and blood we redeem you martyr Razan,” cried mourners as the body was brought to her home for a last farewell before burial.
This article first appeared on MEMO, and can be accessed here.