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Volunteer paramedic Razan al-Najjar, 21, centre, is seen before being shot by Israeli troops while running to take cover from teargas. (Photo: Adel Hana/AP)

Sorrow, Outrage Over IDF Killing of Nurse in Gaza as Deathtoll Surpasses 120

"Razan was not shooting," said one witness. "Razan was saving souls and treating the wounded."

Jon Queally

"We have one goal to save lives and evacuate people. And to send a message to the world: Without weapons, we can do anything." —Razan Al-Najjar, nurse killed by the IDF on Friday in Gaza

On the same day the U.S. vetoed a resolution at the U.N Security Council demanding an end to Israel's practice of firing on unarmed demonstrators in the Occupied Palestinian Territories and the Gaza strip, outrage was again heightened after a nurse attempting to attend to injured protesters was shot and killed by IDF snipers near the Gaza border.

The killing of Razan Al-Najjar—the 21-year-old nurse and volunteer medic who witnesses say was "shot as she ran toward the fortified border fence, east of the south Gaza city of Khan Younis, in a bid to reach a casualty" on Friday—made her the latest victim of Israeli's "shoot to kill" policy that has been used against Palestinians since weekly protests began earlier this year.

Ms. Najjar, reports the New York Times, "was the 119th Palestinian killed since the protests began in March, according to Gaza health officials." Other outlets put the total number of people killed by the IDF at more than 120.

Having spent time with Najjar during earlier reporting in Gaza, the Times spoke with family members and witnesses after her death and added:

The eldest of six children, Ms. Najjar did not score well enough in her high school exams to attend university, Mr. Najjar said. Instead, she trained for two years as a paramedic at the Nasser hospital in Khan Younis and became a volunteer of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, a nongovernmental health organization.

Mr. Najjar, 44, said his daughter rose before dawn on Friday to eat and pray before the start of the daily, sunrise-to-sunset Ramadan fast. That was the last time he saw her.

When we met her at a protest camp in Khan Younis last month, she said her father was proud of what she did.

"We have one goal,” she said, “to save lives and evacuate people. And to send a message to the world: Without weapons, we can do anything."

On Friday, she was less than 100 yards from the fence when she was bandaging the man struck by the tear gas canister, Ibrahim al-Najjar said. The man was taken away in an ambulance, and other paramedics tended to Ms. Najjar, who was suffering the effects of the tear gas.

Then shots rang out, and Ms. Najjar fell to the ground.

Ibrahim carried her away, with the help of two others, and accompanied her in the ambulance.

"Razan was not shooting," Ibrahim said. "Razan was saving souls and treating the wounded."

According to Reuters, Gazan medical officials said at least 100 Palestinians were wounded by army gunfire during Friday's mass demonstrations, Razan's was the only registered fatality.


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