Israeli Army Kills Palestinian Medical Volunteer Wearing Reflective Vest, Report Says

Clashes erupt in refugee camp near West Bank city of Bethlehem when Israeli force entered to conduct arrests. Palestinian Health Ministry says Sajed Mizher was shot in the stomach despite wearing reflective vest and service uniform

Israeli soldiers clash with Palestinians near Ramallah in the West Bank, March 2019
AFP

A 17-year-old Palestinian search-and-rescue service volunteer died from a live gunshot wound Wednesday after being shot by the Israeli military when forces entered a refugee camp near the West Bank city of Bethlehem, the Palestinian Health Ministry reported.

Clashes erupted in the Deheisha refugee camp in the early morning hours when an Israeli force entered to conduct arrests, according to witnesses. The local Palestinian search rescue services was called in to take care of the wounded, with the teen, Sajed Mizher, among them. Reports say he was shot with a live bullet in the stomach.

17-year-old Sajed Munjed wearing the reflective vest

The Israeli army confirmed Wednesday it was active in Deheisha. The IDF spokesperson said that dozens of Palestinians were throwing fire bombs during clashes and that the army responded with riot control means only.

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According to the rescue services coordinator Mazen al-Azza, Mizher was wearing a reflective vest and his search and rescue service uniform when he was shot. Al-Azza said this showed the soldiers fired indiscriminately, shooting at the aid forces as well.

Mizher was brought to rest at the refugee camp Wednesday afternoon. During his funeral, clashes erupted in the northern entrance to Bethlehem with protesters blocking the road and burning tires. According to the red crescent, five people were injured from rubber-tipped bullets and tear gas. 

Palestinian Health Minister Dr. Jawad Awwad condemned the killing, calling it a "war crime" and a "blatant violation of international agreements that grant medical teams protection in war and conflict zones."

According to the ministry's data, in 2019 four Palestinian medics in the West Bank and Gaza have been killed by Israeli military fire while on the job.

Last week, Ahmed Jamal Manasra, was shot to death by Israeli soldiers, in what his family claimed was an unjustified shooting. “All the testimonies and circumstances attest that Ahmed was murdered in cold blood,” one of his relatives told Haaretz.

Even before his death, Palestinian groups in the West Bank called for a “day of rage,” after three Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces overnight Tuesday. Two were shot after throwing explosive devices at soldiers guarding Joseph’s Tomb in Nablus. The third was suspected of carrying out a deadly shooting attack this week and was shot north of Ramallah.