In a day of protest against a US decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, Ibrahim Abu Thuraya who lost his legs in an Israeli attack a decade ago became one of four Palestinians to be killed by Israeli soldiers on Friday.
The unmarried 29-year-old had lived at home with his parents and had been without regular work since the 2008 incident in which he lost his legs.
That happened during an Israeli incursion east of the al Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza in April 2008.
“He was injured in 2008 by an Israeli helicopter that targeted him after he brought down the Israeli flag and raised the Palestinian flag along the border,” his brother Samir said after his death was confirmed on Friday.
“It did not stop him from demonstrating for Jerusalem. He went alone every day to the border.”
A few hours before his death, despite having no legs he climbed an electricity pole to raise the Palestinian flag, eyewitnesses and journalists present said.
The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza say he was shot in the head by a sniper.
Resistance of Abu Thuraya
In video footage recorded early on Friday, Abu Thuraya could be seen carrying the Palestinian flag and waving the victory sign at Israeli soldiers across the border.
“I want to go there,” he says, referring to the other side of the border, as a number of young men surrounding him wave Palestinian flags and others throw stones towards the troops.
Pictures of Abu Thuraya at protests along the border were being circulated widely among Palestinians Friday after it was confirmed he had been shot dead during clashes.
He and his wheelchair have been a regular feature at protests along Gaza’s border with Israel.
Tens of thousands of Palestinians protested in Gaza on Friday over US controversial decision to move the American embassy to Jerusalem and recognise the city as Israel’s capital.
Palestinians consider at least part of the city, which is under full Israeli control, as their capital and were infuriated by the decision.
‘America has to withdraw its decision’
It is incredibly difficult for Palestinians from Gaza to get Israeli permits to visit Jerusalem.
“This land is our land, we will not give up. America has to withdraw its decision,” Abu Thuraya said in another video posted on social media.
Several thousand Palestinians along the Gaza border threw stones at Israeli soldiers, with clashes lasting for several hours.
The Israeli army declined to comment specifically on the incident on Friday evening, saying only that there were “extremely violent riots” throughout the day.
“Soldiers fired selectively towards main instigators,” an army spokeswoman said.
Israel has maintained a blockade of Gaza for a decade, claiming that this is necessary to isolate the territory’s Hamas rulers.
Critics say it amounts to collective punishment for the strip’s two million residents, who suffer from electricity shortages and pollution.