Volunteer medic Sajid Muzher had on reflective vest when he was shot, colleague says
Israeli soldiers shot dead a teenage Palestinian medic in the occupied West Bank, his colleagues and the Palestinian health ministry have said.
Sajid Muzher, 17, was killed at the Dheisheh refugee camp next to Bethlehem, the ministry said in a statement. Early on Wednesday morning, Israeli troops had entered the area, leading to a confrontation with residents, who threw stones. Medical teams had rushed in to provide first aid.
“The killing by the Occupation of the volunteer paramedic with live bullets in the stomach is a war crime,” the Palestinian health minister Jawad Awad said, in reference to Israel.
Muzher had worked for the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, which later said he was shot while attempting to treat one of those wounded by Israeli fire. He died of his injuries in hospital and was buried on Wednesday afternoon.
Ahmed Gharib, 23, another first responder, said he was working alongside Muzher when he was hit. “It was 6am exactly,” he said at the funeral tent in Dheisheh, still wearing his bright orange medic vest, with tape and bandages in the pockets. Muzher had also been wearing his high-visibility clothing, he said.
“There were clashes, people were throwing stones, and four had been wounded. He ran to help someone and got shot,” he said. “I was right behind him. He thought he had been hit in the leg. But there was no blood because it was the abdomen.”
The Israeli military said in a statement that a “violent riot” was instigated during operation activity. “Dozens of rioters hurled blocks and firebombs at the troops, who responded with riot dispersal means,” it said, without saying whether live fire was used. “A report was received regarding an injured Palestinian,” it added.
Israeli forces, which have occupied the West Bank for more than half a century, regularly enter refugee camps to carry out raids and arrests. Residents block their way and throw rocks, sparking clashes.
Gerald Rockenschaub, the head of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) office for the West Bank and Gaza, condemned the killing.
“We are saddened by this tragic loss. Health workers provide critical care and save lives. Their protection must be ensured,” he said in a statement. The WHO said Muzher was 18, not 17, as reported by the ministry.
Dheisheh was established for Palestinian families who either fled or were expelled from their homes in the war surrounding Israel’s creation in 1948. It has since become a sprawling neighbourhood with multistorey residential buildings.
Agence France-Presse contributed to this report