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Second Palestinian journalist succumbs to wounds in Gaza

April 26, 2018 12:28 P.M. (Updated: April 30, 2018 11:26 A.M.)

BETHLEHEM (Ma'an) -- A Palestinian journalist succumbed overnight from wounds sustained by an Israeli army sniper, while covering the recent "Great March of Return" demonstrations in Gaza.

Ahmed Abu Hussein was shot in the side of the abdomen on Friday the 13th of April, and later died on the 25th of April in Tel Hashomer hospital in central Israel, according to Gaza’s Health Ministry.

Abu Hussein came under Israeli sniper fire, despite the fact he was at a distance of 350-meters from the border fence. Israel has previously declared its "right to defend the border" from demonstrators that come within 300-meters.

The 24-year-old journalist from Jabaliya refugee camp worked as a journalist for the Gaza-based Al Shaab radio station, as well as a photographer for Bisan. According to eye-witnesses, he was wearing a helmet, as well as a protective vest marked “PRESS” at the time of his shooting. Unverified video evidence may act to support the claim that Abu Hussein was indeed wearing a blue protective vest as he was struck by an Israeli army sniper.

The Palestinian Journalists' Syndicate has issued a statement holding the Israeli army "fully responsible for this crime", calling for an investigation, and ultimately prosecutions.

In an interview with Al Jazeera, Sherif Mansour, Middle East and North Africa programme coordinator for the Committee to Protect Journalists said: “Protective gear that clearly indicates individuals are members of the press should afford them extra protection- not make them targets.”

“The death of Ahmed Abu Hussein underscores the need for Israeli authorities to urgently scrutinize its policies toward journalists covering protests and take immediate, effective action.” Mansour explained.

Abu Hussein’s death marks the second death of a journalist whilst covering the march of our lives demonstrations on the Gaza-Israel border, following the death of Yaser Murtaja, 30, who was shot on the 7th of April. Israel has since stated Murtaja was an active member of Hamas- a claim his family and work colleagues have vehemently denied.

According to a report from the Committee to Protect Journalists, thirteen journalists in total have come under fire from the Israeli Army whilst covering the events on the border in recent weeks.

The Israeli army has since issued a statement saying that “The IDF does not intend to shoot at journalists, and the circumstances in which journalists were allegedly injured by IDF gunfire are unknown and are being investigated.”

"Ahmed had always expected this could happen to him," Abu Hussein's 45-year-old mother told journalists.

"The situation is Gaza is difficult. There is no work. But Ahmed always had ambition and he wanted to progress. His friends offered him this job, and he would write and photograph for the agency and send materials for publication." she said.

His mother, following consultations with doctors has also levelled accusations against the Israeli army that it had used hollow-tipped ammunition, which expand upon hitting a target, inflicting maximum damage.

Abu Hussein's death raises the fatality toll along the Gaza border to 42 since the "Great March of Return" demonstrations began a month ago, according to Ma'an documentation.

Abu Hussein will be buried in Gaza today.

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