Today at about 6.30 pm, Brian Avery, 24, of New Mexico was shot in the face by a burst of machine gun fire from an Israeli Armoured Personnel Carrier. The circumstances surrounding his injury are as follows.
Today the Israeli army of occupation operating in the Jenin area imposed its second day of curfew on the people of the city. Groups of young men and boys continued their resistance to the curfew by venturing out onto the streets to throw stones at tanks and other military vehicles.
At about 6.30 pm Brian and another ISM activist were at the ISM’s Jenin headquarters when they heard the sound of gunfire coming from the centre of the city, about two blocks away. They left the apartment to investigate and had traveled about a hundred metres when they arrived at a major crossroad and saw two armoured personnel carriers advancing towards them at low speed. There were no Palestinians on the streets in the area, armed or otherwise.
At the sight of the armoured vehicles both activists stood still and raised their hands above their heads.
When the first armoured personnel carrier was 50 metres from them it fired a burst of machine gun fire (an estimated 15 rounds) at the ground in front of them so that they were sprayed by a shower of broken bullets and stones. Tobias, Brian’s companion, leapt aside. He had fled about three steps when he looked back to see Brian lying face down on the road in a pool of blood.
Tobias and Brian were then joined by four other ISM activists who had arrived at the scene of the shooting by a different route. All six of them rushed to help him as the two armoured vehicles rolled past without stopping. He was conscious but when he raised himself from the ground they saw that his left cheek has been almost totally shot off.
The activists then performed first aid on him and phoned for an ambulance which took him to the Martyr Doctor Khalil Suleiman Hospital in Jenin where he was treated for shrapnel wounds to his face including bone fractures below the eyes, lacerations of the tongue and lacerations of his left cheek. A specialist was called in to examine his injuries and recommended that he be transferred immediately to a hospital in Afula in Israel but his departure was delayed because the Israeli military refused to grant his ambulance safe passage for more than an hour.
From Afula Brian was transported to a hospital in Haifa by helicopter.
Under the Israeli Army’s own rules of engagement soldiers are not permitted to fire warning shots with mounted weapons. They may fire warning shots with light hand held weapons and must aim away from the people they are warning.
When he was shot Brian was wearing a fluorescent red vest with a reflective white cross on its back and front.
For further information contact: Tobias on: 057 836 527 or 067 437 690 or Lasse on: 059 386 896