Thousands attend funeral for volunteer paramedic, 21, shot dead in Gaza

Razan Najjar had been planning to announce her engagement before she was killed while rushing to the aid of a wounded man on the Israel-Gaza border

Chiara Giordano
Saturday 02 June 2018 19:55
Comments
Hundreds of medical workers in white uniforms took part in a funeral procession for Ms Najjar, the eldest of six siblings, on Saturday
Hundreds of medical workers in white uniforms took part in a funeral procession for Ms Najjar, the eldest of six siblings, on Saturday

Thousands gathered for the funeral of a 21-year-old volunteer paramedic shot dead on the Israel-Gaza border just weeks before she planned to announce her engagement.

Razan Najjar had helped evacuate and treat the wounded during weeks of cross-border violence before she was killed on Friday.

She had planned to announce her engagement to volunteer ambulance worker Izzat Shatat, 23, at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Paying tribute to the volunteer paramedic, Mr Shatat said in tears: “She helped all people; she has never refused to help.

“She was the first to run towards anybody when he is shot.”

Hundreds of medical workers in white uniforms took part in a funeral procession for Ms Najjar, the eldest of six siblings, on Saturday.

Ms Najjar (centre) is seen before being shot in her chest by Israeli troops while running with protesters to take cover from tear gas

Her body was wrapped in a Palestinian flag as the funeral procession started from the hospital and passed near her home in Khuzaa, a village near the city of Khan Younis, which is close to the border and has served as one of five protest encampments across Gaza.

Dressed in black and seated on a mattress in her living room, her mother Sabreen said: “I want the world to hear my voice... what’s my daughter’s fault?”

She added: ”She will leave a large emptiness at home.”

After the funeral, dozens of mourners headed to the fence and started throwing stones at the Israeli soldiers on the other side.

The Palestinian Health Ministry said five protesters were wounded by Israeli fire.

Relatives of Razan Najjar mourn at the family house during her funeral in town of Khan Younis, southern Gaza Strip

On the day Ms Najjar was killed, some 40 Palestinians were wounded but she was the only one who died.

The Khan Younis hospital said the volunteer paramedic had a gunshot wound to the chest with an exit wound in the back.

Fares al-Kidra, a colleague of Ms Najjar, said they were approaching the fence to evacuate a wounded man and, as they were leaving, three gunshots were heard and Ms Najjar fell to the ground.

Al-Mezan, a Gaza-based rights group, said Ms Najjar was 100 metres from the fence and wearing a clearly marked paramedic’s vest when she was shot.

Social media videos, and one captured by Associated Press footage, showed Ms Najjar and a cohort of medics walking towards the fence and raising their hands to reach a wounded man lying on the ground.

Ms Najjar wore a dark blue headscarf and a white coat with the logo of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, where she volunteered.

The Israeli military said its troops operated “in accordance with standard operating procedures” and that it was investigating the incident.

Ms Najjar is just the second female fatality out of more than 115 killed since the deadly border protest campaign began in late March.

On 14 May, when the protests peaked over the opening of the US embassy in Jerusalem, a 14-year-old girl, Wessal Sheikh Khalil, became the first female protester to be shot dead.

Razan Najjar working at the scene of clashes at Israel-Gaza border in April

She was among more than 60 people killed that day, the deadliest since a war between Hamas and Israel ended in 2014.

The Gaza protests are being organised by the territory’s militant Hamas leadership and are aimed at drawing attention to the decade-long Israeli-Egyptian blockade on the territory.

The protesters are also demanding the “right of return” for Palestinian refugees from the 1948 war and their descendants.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in