Boy among two killed by Israeli fire in Gaza

Relatives of Muhammad al-Hamayda mourn at the hospital morgue in Khan Younis, southern Gaza, after the 24-year-old was shot dead by Israeli snipers during a protest.

Ashraf Amra APA images

Israeli forces killed two Palestinians, including a child, in the occupied Gaza Strip on Friday.

The Israeli military also carried out airstrikes in eastern Gaza City on Thursday night. No injuries were reported.

Yasir Amjad Musa Abu al-Naja – only 11 years old, according to Defense for Children International Palestine – and Muhammad Fawzi Muhammad al-Hamayda, 24, died after being shot in the head and stomach, respectively, in two separate incidents in southern Gaza.

The pair were killed during the 14th consecutive week of the Great March of Return protests along Gaza’s eastern perimeter.

Abu al-Naja was the second Palestinian child slain by Israeli forces in Gaza this week. Abd al-Fatah Abu Azoum, 17, was slain after being targeted by tank fire early Thursday.

Israel has killed around 150 Palestinians in Gaza so far this year, including more than 20 children.

By contrast, 85 Palestinians were killed by Israeli fire in both the West Bank and Gaza in all of 2017. Fourteen of those slain were children.

The vast majority of those killed in Gaza so far this year were shot with live fire during Great March of Return protests against Israel’s decade-long siege and in support of the right of Palestinian refugees to return to their villages of origin.

Two-thirds of Gaza’s population of two million, who have lived under severe Israeli blockade for 11 years, are refugees from lands inside what is now called Israel.

Gaza’s health ministry stated that 415 Palestinians were injured during Friday’s protests, more than 130 requiring hospitalization. Al Mezan said that nearly 60 people were injured by live fire.

The theme for Friday’s protest was unity and a shared destiny with Palestinians in the occupied West Bank, where there have been no protests matching the size of those in Gaza in recent months.

The Israeli paper Haaretz reported on Friday that Palestinians downed a military drone surveilling the protests and that 15 fires were caused by flaming kites launched from Gaza.

Israel’s public security minister Gilad Erdan said earlier this month that Palestinians launching burning kites from Gaza should be shot, even if they are children.

Video shows protesters celebrating after downing an Israeli tear gas drone in Bureij, central Gaza, on Friday:

Another video shows emergency medics treating a man who was hit in the head with a tear gas canister in Khan Younis, southern Gaza:

Protesters in Khan Younis released balloons carrying posters of prisoners and slain Palestinians, as well as messages in Hebrew and Arabic expressing the theme of the day: the unity and common destiny of Palestinians.

This story was updated to correct the age of Yasir Amjad Musa Abu al-Naja.

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Maureen Clare Murphy

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Maureen Clare Murphy is the managing editor of The Electronic Intifada and lives in Chicago.