Two Palestinian women were killed and some 180 wounded in Gaza by live Israeli fire since weekly protests along the Israeli border began in March, according to data in a United Nations report released last week and confirmed by Israeli security officials.
Overall, the data shows, 295 Palestinians were killed and about 6,000 wounded by live ammunition. Some 29,000 others, about 1,800 of whom women, were hurt in some other way, mostly by tear gas. 45 of them were wounded by riot control gear, primarily rubber bullets.
The Israeli army commented on the data, saying it "does everything it can to avoid hurting children and women." In a statement, it blamed Hamas for "making cynical use of Gaza residents," which it said were used as human shields in "violent riots" along the border.
The army added it is committed to its rules of engagement. "When necessary, specific cases are looked into... and brought before the military prosecution for consideration," it said.
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In October, the IDF's Advocate General Maj. Gen. Sharon Afek instructed Military Police to open a criminal investigation into the June death of 21-year-old Gazan medic Razan al-Najjar, one of the two women killed, even though an IDF investigation concluded she wasn't shot intentionally.
The New York Times' Jerusalem bureau chief reported in December, based on hundreds of images and videos and dozens of interviews, that al-Najjar did not pose any risk to the soldiers, and said "the shooting appears to have been reckless at best, and possibly a war crime, for which no one has yet been punished."
"The bullet that killed her, The Times found, was fired by an Israeli sniper into a crowd that included white-coated medics in plain view," he wrote. “The bullet hit the ground in front of the medics, then fragmented, part of it ricocheting upward and piercing Ms. Najjar’s chest. It was fired from a sand berm used by Israeli snipers at least 120 yards from where the medics fell."
Another woman, 43-year-old Amal Mustafa al-Taramsi, was shot dead by Israeli forces in January during a demonstration along the border, east of Gaza City.
The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza said on Friday 32 Palestinians were wounded over the weekend by live fire in clashes with Israeli forces along the border. It added two paramedics were also wounded by tear gas canisters fired by the Israel Defense Forces.