Ibrahim Abu Thuraya, who was killed Friday in clashes with Israeli soldiers along the Gaza border, has become a symbol of Palestinian protests against U.S. President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.
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Abu Thuraya, 29, lost both his legs in an Israeli airstrike in 2008. A married father of three who lived in the A-Shati refugee camp in the Gaza Strip, worked in a carwash since losing his legs, which made his former job as a fisherman impossible.
His friends said that despite his disability, he routinely insisted on participating in protests near the border fence, just as he did both this weekend and last to protest Trump’s announcement.
On Friday, Abu Thuraya and dozens of other young Palestinians gathered near the border fence east of Gaza City’s Shujaiyeh neighborhood, where a journalist filmed him waving a Palestinian flag and shouting at the soldiers, “This is our land and we won’t capitulate to Trump’s announcement; we’ll continue to protest by the fence. We’re members of the Palestinian nation, a nation of heroes.”
Eyewitnesses said he was sitting in his wheelchair and waving his flag when a live bullet hit him in the head, killing him instantly.
Thousands of people attended his funeral in A-Shati on Saturday, including the head of Hamas’ political wing in Gaza, Ismail Haniyeh. At the funeral, people shouted for revenge and charged that the Israeli soldiers could see Abu Thuraya was disabled but shot him anyway.
Over the weekend, two other Palestinians were killed in addition to Abu Thuraya; 23-year-old Yasser Sukar, also in Gaza, and 29-year-old Mustafa Basel from the West Bank.