Gaza buries journalist killed by Israel troops while covering Palestine mass protests

Gaza buries journalist killed by Israel troops while covering Palestine mass protests
2 min read
08 April, 2018
Hundreds attended the funeral of a well-known Palestinian journalist in Gaza on Saturday who was killed while covering mass protests along the Israeli border the previous day.
Israeli troops opened fire from across the border, killing at least nine Palestinians [AP]

Hundreds attended the funeral of a well-known Palestinian journalist in Gaza on Saturday who was killed while covering mass protests along the Israeli border the previous day.

Yasser Murtaja died from a gunshot wound he sustained while filming Friday in an area engulfed in thick black smoke from protesters setting tires on fire.

Israeli troops opened fire from across the border, killing at least nine Palestinians and wounding 491 others in the second mass border protest in eight days.

The deaths brought to at least 31 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since last week.

Witnesses said Murtaja was over 100 meters from the border, wearing a flak jacket marked "press" and holding his camera when he was shot in an exposed area just below the armpit.

The Israeli military has claimed it fired only at "instigators involved in attacks on soldiers" and said it was investigating Murtaja's death.

Colleagues said Murtaja was not affiliated with Gazas Islamist rulers Hamas or any other militant group, and there were no Hamas symbols normally seen at the funerals for its members.

At the funeral, Murtaja's body was draped in a Palestinian flag with his flak jacket reading "press" placed upon him as he was carried through the streets of Gaza.

Murtaja, 30, was the co-founder of Ain Media, a local TV production company that has done projects, including aerial drone video, for foreign media clients such as the BBC and Al Jazeera English.

His death, along with the other recent casualties, have drawn renewed criticism from rights groups opposed to Israel's use of live-fire against unarmed protesters.

Three other journalists sustained tear gas injuries and at least one cameraman a gunshot in his leg, health ministry and media activists reported.

AIDA, a network of more than 70 non-government organisations operating in the Palestinian territories, condemned on Saturday "the unlawful killing of civilians".

It follows accusations from the United Nations' human rights office that it has indications of Israeli forces using "excessive force" the previous week.

The European Union on Saturday issued a statement saying Friday's violence "raises serious questions about the proportionate use of force which must be addressed."