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Israel to probe killing of disabled Palestinian activist Ibrahim Abu Thuraya

Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, 29, was shot and killed while demonstrating peacefully along Gaza's border. [Getty]

Date of publication: 18 December, 2017

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The killing of disabled Palestinian activist Ibrahim Abu Thuraya - who was reportedly shot in the head while holding a peaceful protest - has caused widespread outrage.

Israel's military said on Sunday that it had opened an investigation into the fatal shooting of a disabled Palestinian man during a protest in the Gaza Strip last week.

Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, 29, was shot and killed while demonstrating peacefully along Gaza's border following an announcement by President Donald Trump that the US would recognise Jerusalem as Israel's capital.

The Palestinian health ministry said he was shot in the head by an Israeli sniper.

Abu Thuraya has been hailed as a hero for his bravery in Palestine. Internationally, the killing of the paraplegic activist has sparked outrage.

Abu Thuraya lost both legs and a kidney when an Israeli helicopter targeted him during Operation Cast Lead in 2008, when Israel's army killed more than 1,400 Palestinians during an intensive three week military campaign.

Israel's military has blamed Hamas for organising protests along the Gaza border and said the demonstrations posed a "significant threat" to soldiers and justified the use of live fire.

"Allegations of the killing of a paraplegic Palestinian rioter are under investigation", spokesman Lt. Col. Jonathan Conricus added.

Hundreds of neighbours, friends and officials, including Hamas leader Ismail Haniyeh, have visited a mourning tent erected for Abu Thuraya in Gaza's al-Shati refugee camp, which was adorned with photos of him in a wheelchair hoisting up the Palestinian flag and flashing a "victory" sign.

Posters of Abu Thuraya have adorned the banners, offices and tents of the Palestinian political factions, reflecting how his death has been embraced by Gazan society.

In video footage recorded early on Friday before his death, Abu Thuraya could be seen carrying the Palestinian flag and waving the victory sign at Israeli soldiers across the border.

"I want to go there," he says, referring to the other side of the border, as a number of young men surrounding him also waved Palestinian flags, while others threw stones towards the troops.

"This land is our land, we will not give up. America has to withdraw its decision," Abu Thuraya said in another video posted on social media.

Israeli military investigations into the killing of Palestinians rarely result in an indictment.

In over 700 cases in which Israeli soldiers have killed, injured or assaulted Palestinians in the occupied Palestinian territories, only three percent of investigations have led to any form of punishment, rights groups say.

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