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Updates from the 48th Great Return March

Sunday, 24 February 2019 09:44 Date: 23 February 2019
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Al-Haq photo, taken on 22 February 2019, Central Governorate.On Friday, 22 February 2019, the Great Return March continued for the 48th week. Between 2:00 pm and 5:30 pm, thousands of peaceful protesters gathered along the Gaza fence, calling for their right to return to their land and homes that they were forced to leave in 1948, and against Israel’s closure imposed on the Gaza strip for the past 12 years. Protesters, including women and children, from across all five governorates of the Gaza Strip raised flags and chanted national slogans. As usual, the protesters were met with excessive force by the Israeli Occupying Forces (IOF), situated behind the fence on bunkered hills. The IOF targeted protesters by firing live ammunition, rubber bullets, and tear gas canisters. The IOF’s attack on protesters along the Gaza fence resulted in the killing of 14-year-old Yousef Sai’d Al-Daya, and the injury of 118, including 17 children, eight women and one journalist. Of the 118, 54 were shot with live bullets, killing one and seriously injuring four.

The Killing of 14-year-old Yousef Sa'id Al-Daya

Yousef Sa'id Al-Daya, born on 26 August 2004, was a student in tenth grade, who lived in Al-Zaytoun neighbourhood, east of Gaza City. At approximately 4:00 pm on Friday, Yousef was shot with a live bullet in the chest by the IOF while participating in the peaceful protest in the eastern part of Gaza City. Yousef was at least 200 metres away from the fence when he was shot. Medics from the Palestine Red Crescent rushed Yousef, who was in critical condition, to Al-Shifa Hospital in Gaza City. Doctors operated on Yousef but efforts to revive him failed. Yousef was pronounced dead at approximately 5:50 pm as a result of the injury he sustained from the bullet in the chest.

Injuries

In the North Gaza Governorate, hundreds of peaceful protesters, including women and children, participated in the Great Return March at the Abu Safiya Hill, east of Jabaliya. The IOF fired at the protesters, injuring 29, including five children. Among those who were injured, 16 were wounded from bullet shrapnel, including one child. Eight other protesters, including three children and one person with disability, were directly shot with tear gas canisters and sustained injuries in various parts of the body. Five other protesters were shot with rubber bullets, including one child. Dozens others suffered gas inhalation.

In the Gaza Governorate, hundreds of peaceful protesters gathered in Malka, east of Gaza City. The IOF fired live ammunition, rubber bullets, and tear gas, killing Yousef Sa'id Al-Daya, as mentioned above. In total, 51 protesters were injured, including seven children. Of the 51, 23 were injured by live bullets and bullet fragments; 25 others were injured by gas canisters shot directly at them; and three others were injured by rubber bullets. Dozens others suffered gas inhalation.

In the Central Governorate, hundreds of peaceful protesters, including women and children, gathered east of Al-Breij Refugee Camp. The IOF injured 11, eight of whom by live ammunition, and three others by gas canisters directly shot at them. One of the gas canisters struck a protester in the head. Tens of other protesters were treated for gas inhalation.

In the Khan Younis Governorate, hundreds of peaceful protesters, including women and children, gathered in Khuza'a, east of Khan Younis. The IOF injured 22 protesters, including four children and a journalist. Of the 22, eight were injured by live ammunition and bullet shrapnel, while 13 others, including a journalist, were hit directly with gas canisters. One other protester was wounded by a rubber bullet, while dozens others were treated for gas inhalation.

In the Rafah Governorate, hundreds of peaceful protesters, including women and children, gathered east of Rafah. The IOF fired live bullets and tear gas canisters at the protesters, wounding five, including one child. Of the five, two were injured by bullet shrapnel, while one was directly hit with a gas canister, whereas dozens others were treated for gas inhalation.

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