Authorities in Gaza: Slain Medic's Teams' Hands Were Raised as They Approached Israeli Border

Head of Gaza's health services says tear gas grenade hit a colleague of medic Razan Najjar. A friend says they returned to treat wounded when they came under fire

Volunteer paramedic Razan Najjar, 21, center, is seen before being shot in her chest by Israeli troops while running with protesters to take cover from teargas fired by Israeli troop near the Gaza Strip's border with Israel, during a protest east of Khan Younis, Gaza Strip, Friday, June 1, 2018. Najjar was fatally shot in the chest and died later at hospital, the Health Ministry said. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
Volunteer paramedic Razan al-Najjar, 21, center, seen before being shot in her chest by Israeli troops while running with protesters to take cover from teargas fired by Israeli troop near the Gaza StrCredit: Adel Hana/AP

The medical team that included Palestinian medic who was shot dead on Friday had approached the Gaza border fence with their arms raised shortly before the shooting, authorities in Gaza said Saturday. Authorities in Gaza released a video that it said showed the team, wearing white, walking towards the fence before Razan al-Najjar, 21, was shot.

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Dr. Yossef Abu Arrish, the head of Gaza's health services, said that "the paramedics approached the border with raised hands and while they were in their white uniforms and still the army fired tear gas grenades at them."

A New York Times interview with Razan Najjar.Credit: New York Times

He said that one of the grenades hit one of the medic's legs. A friend of Najjar said the team returned to the border to take care of the wounded – including their fellow medics – when they came under fire. It was at this point, they claim, that Najjar was critically wounded from a gunshot wound to the chest.

In a video released by the health ministry and allegedly recorded minutes before Najjar was shot, the team of paramedics can be seen approaching the border in white coats and with their hands in the air. Najjar was also photographed wearing a white coat during attempts to resuscitate her.

Najjar gave an interview in which she took pride in the aid she was providing for the wounded, Palestinian officials said.

An interview with Razan Najjar on Palestinian satellite channel Al-Quds TV.

Earlier, the Israel Defense Forces said that it would probe her death, saying in a statement that "cases in which there are claims that a civilian was killed by IDF fire we investigate thoroughly and that is what will be done in regards to these claims." The army said it would use the same "operational probe" used in previous cases.

Also Saturday, the UN envoy for the Middle East, Nickolay Mladenov, said in a tweet that "Medical workers are #NotATarget!" and that "Israel needs to calibrate its use of force and Hamas need to prevent incidents at the fence."

Tweet by Nickolay Mladenov. Credit: Twitter

Thousands of Palestinians attended Najjar's funeral in a cemetery in Khan Yunis.

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Speaking at a convention in Wadi Ara on Saturday, Israeli-Arab lawmaker Ahmad Tibi (Joint List) called Najjar's killing "a heinous war crime," adding that the U.S. and its envoy to the UN, Nikki Haley, who vetoed the Security Council resolution for "international protection" for the Palestinians, bear responsibility for Najjar's death.

Another 40 people were reported wounded during Friday's protest along the Gaza border. Since the confrontations along the border of May 14, the number of participants has fallen dramatically, and Hamas and other Palestinian factions have set June 5 as the date for a march by tens of thousands to mark 51 years since the Six-Day War, known as Nakba Day by the Palestinians.

The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza has updated its figures and says 118 people have died in the marches, after a 23-year-old Gaza resident succumbed Thursday to the gunshot wounds he suffered on May 14.

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