Abu Thurayyah was demonstrating against the US decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital when he was killed [Mohammed Salem/Reuters]
AL JAZEERA NEWS, 16 Dec 2017
Two days before he was killed, Ibrahim Abu Thurayyah filmed a message to the Israeli army.
“I am passing a message to the Zionist occupation army,” the 29-year-old double amputee, who lost both of his legs and a kidney in a 2008 Israeli air raid, said.
“This land is our land. We are not going to give up. America has to withdraw the declaration it made.”
Before his death, the wheelchair-bound Abu Thurayyah had become a staple figure at protests along the Gaza Strip‘s border with Israel.
Since December 6, he and his fellow demonstrators decried US President Donald Trump’s decision to recognise Jerusalem as Israel’s capital. In photos, Abu Thurayyah can be seen climbing an electricity pole and sticking a Palestinian flag on it.
On December 15, Abu Thurayyah was fatally shot in the head by an Israeli sniper.
WATCH: Funeral of Palestinian amputee killed by Israeli fire
Another Palestinian, Yaser Sukkar, was killed the same day while protesting at Gaza’s border. Two others were killed by the Israeli army in the occupied West Bank, bringing the death toll since Trump’s decision in the first week of December to eight Palestinians.
On Saturday, funerals were held for Abu Thurayyah and the three other Palestinians killed a day earlier.
Al Jazeera’s Alan Fisher, reporting from Abu Thurayyah’s funeral procession in Gaza, said thousands of people had taken to the streets to pay their respects for “unlikely figure of Palestinian resistance and defiance”.
“He would often leave his wheelchair at home and attend rallies in protests around Gaza City just carrying his Palestinian flag,” said Fisher.
“He was carrying that flag when he was shot by the Israelis.”
Mourners carry Abu Thurayyah’s body during his funeral in Gaza City on Saturday [Suhaib Salem/Reuters]
Ashraf al-Qidra, the spokesman for Gaza’s health ministry, said in a statement on Saturday that the Israeli army has been using snipers armed with explosive bullets and indiscriminately firing tear gas canisters.
“The army also uses gas bombs of unknown quality, which has led to the injury of dozens in the form of convulsions, vomiting, coughing and rapid heartbeat,” he said.
Qidra also noted that Israeli forces have been using excessive violence against civilians and deliberately targeting paramedics, ambulances and news crews.
In April 2008, Abu Thurayyah was sitting with several friends in al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza when he was hit by the Israeli air raid that cost him his legs and kidney. Seven people were killed in the attack.
As the sole breadwinner for his 11-member family, which consisted of his two, sick parents, six sisters and three brothers, Abu Thurayyah, who was a fisherman before the Israeli air raid, was forced to find new work to pay the bills for their home in the camp.
He found work washing cars, earning 50-70 shekels ($14-20) a day. Sometimes he also sold vegetables in the market to make ends meet.
In an interview with Shehab News Agency a few years ago, Abu Thurayyah outlined his hopes and dreams for the future.
“I hope one day to own a house,” he said.
“I wish that people in European and Arab countries will help me after listening to my story to get treatment abroad and prosthetic legs.”