Israeli soldier shoots protester in face at close range with teargas canister

Israel/Palestine
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Mustafa Tamimi, a 28-year-old Palestinian from the village of Nabi Saleh, moments before he was shot by the Israeli army and critically injured. “Circled in red are the barrel of the gun and the projectile that hit him,” according to the Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (Photo: Haim Scwarczenberg)

Violence rocked the occupied Palestinian territories today, as a demonstrator in Nabi Saleh was critically injured and Gazans continued to brace Israeli air attacks. Four Gazans were killed in the attacks, including at least one civilian.

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Ola Tamimi shouts after watching her brother, Mustafa Tamimi, get shot by the IDF.
(Photo: Anne Paq/Activestills.org)

Mustafa Tamimi, a 28-year-old resident of the village of Nabi Saleh, was shot in the face by an Israel Defense Forces (IDF) tear-gas canister after apparently throwing stones at an Israeli army vehicle. News of the injury quickly came in through Twitter:

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Other Twitter users on the ground in Nabi Saleh claimed that at first, the Israeli army was not allowing them to take Tamimi to the hospital. But their troubles weren’t over when the Israeli army allowed Tamimi to go. A tweet sent from the account of the Active Stills photography collective reported: “One of our photographers and 2 friends of Mostafa Tamimi are detained by Security guards in Beilinson hospital.”

The Popular Struggle Coordination Committee (PSCC) has more on what happened:

Mustafa Tamimi, a 28 year old resident of Nabi Saleh, was shot in the face today, during the weekly protest in the village of Nabi Saleh. He sustained a severe injury to his head, under his right eye, and was evacuated to the Belinson hospital in Petah Tikwa. He is currently anesthetized, breathing through tubes, and his condition is described as serious. Tamimi is undergoing treatment in the trauma ward of the hospital, and is expected to undergo surgery later tonight…

The incident took place in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh today, when dozens gathered for the weekly demonstration in the village, protesting the theft of village lands by the adjacent Jewish-only settlement of Nabi Saleh. After the army dispersed the peaceful march, minor clashes erupted followed by a severe response by Israeli forces. Several people were hit with rubber-coated bullets and directly shot tear gas projectiles. Three were evacuated to the Ramallah hospital for further treatment. One protester was arrested.

The demonstrations, which have been held regularly for the past two years have seen hundreds of injuries to protesters by Israeli forces as well as dozens of arrests carried out with the aim of supressing dissent.

The PSCC posted this video of the aftermath of the shooting. Warning to viewers: It is extremely graphic and disturbing.

An IDF spokesperson, Avital Leibovich, tweeted a photo of a slingshot Tamimi was allegedly using to explain the Israeli army’s actions.

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Mustafa Tamimi (L) poses for a photo with his parents (front) and brothers in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh, 10.9.2010. (Photo: Activestills)

Meanwhile, there has been an escalation in violence in the Gaza Strip. This latest flare-up was sparked by an Israeli air strike in Gaza that killed Palestinian fighters who Israel says were involved in attacks on Israel originating from Egypt’s Sinai.

Ma’an News has the story:

Prime Minister in Gaza Ismail Haniyeh said Friday that his government was holding intensive talks with regional and international parties to stop Israel’s escalation in attacks on the enclave.

Four Palestinians have been killed since Wednesday and at least 20 injured in a series of airstrikes on Gaza City. The Israeli army expressed regret that civilians were hurt in the attacks, which injured at least seven children.

Speaking after Friday prayers in Gaza City, Haniyeh said Israel’s latest flare up in aggression was preceded by threats of a new military action by Israeli leaders.

About Alex Kane

Alex Kane is a freelance journalist and graduate student at New York University's Near East Studies and Journalism programs. Follow him on Twitter @alexbkane.

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