Azzam Hilal Oweida

Azzam OweidaApril 28, 2018: Azzam Hilal Oweida, 14, was killed by Israeli forces east of Gaza City, who shot him in the head during the fifth Friday of protests for the ‘Great March of Return’.

Azzam was one of four Palestinians killed by Israeli snipers during protests on April 27th . The snipers fired live ammunition indiscriminately at the unarmed crowds of protesters, according to eyewitnesses.

Azzam died in the pre-dawn hours Saturday morning, of a serious gunshot wound received Friday when an Israeli army sharpshooter shot him with a live round in the head, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip.

The Palestinian Health Ministry confirmed that Israeli soldiers killed four young Palestinians, including Azzam, a 14-year old child, on April 27th, and injured more than 995, including at least 178 who were shot with live fire.

In addition to Azzam, the the soldiers also killed Abdul-Salam Bakr, 29, from Khuza’a town, east of Khan Younis, in the southern part of the Gaza Strip, Mohammad Amin Al-Moqyd, 21, from Gaza City, and Khalil Na’im Atallah, 22, also from Gaza City.

According to Ashraf al-Qidra of the Palestinian Ministry of Health, 18 medics and medical personnel were among those wounded on Friday.

Al-Qidra added that Israeli forces specifically targeted medical service points twice with an unidentified gas east of the al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza. This appeared to be a new type of gas that caused those who inhaled it to suffer from severe convulsions. A number of these victims had to be hospitalized.

175 of the wounded Palestinians were injured in Northern Gaza, 251 in Gaza city area, 200 in Central Gaza, 146 in Khan Younis and 183 in Rafah.

On Friday night, Israeli war jets fired missiles at a site that they claimed was run by a Palestinian resistance group, west of Deir al-Balah in central Gaza.

The army also fired missiles at two Palestinian fishing boats in Gaza port. Media sources in Gaza said the boats are parts of preparations for welcoming an upcoming flotilla to challenge the illegal Israeli siege on Gaza.

The ongoing ‘Great Return March’ protests which started on Palestinian Land Day (March 30th) are meant to bring attention to the fact that millions of Palestinians are imprisoned in the Gaza Strip, unable to return to their homes in what is now Israel. Palestinians make up the largest refugee population on earth.

Israeli troops again opened fire on the unarmed protesters, as they have done each Friday since the protests began on March 30th.

Since March 30th, Israeli forces have killed 44 Palestinian protesters, and wounded more than five thousand.

An international outcry against the continued shooting of civilian protesters has included political leaders, politicians, grassroots leaders and humanitarian organizations around the world. But this outcry has not reached the US, where politicians have been largely silent on the issue.

Irish and South African politicians have been leading the call for justice for Palestinians, calling the Israeli government an ‘apartheid state’ much like South Africa in the 1980s.

In response to Israel’s fifth straight week of attacking unarmed demonstrators at the border, the UN Commissioner for Human Rights, Zeid Ra’ad al-Hussein, issued a statement that, “The loss of life is deplorable, and the staggering number of injuries caused by live ammunition only confirms the sense that excessive force has been used against demonstrators – not once, not twice, but repeatedly.”

Azzam was from Khuza’a, east of Khan Younis in the southern part of the Gaza Strip. Source: IMEMC