A 12-year-old Palestinian boy has lost his left leg after being shot by Israeli forces amid an increased sniper presence on the Gaza border.
Pictures of 12-year-old Abdel Rahman Nawfal screaming in pain after he was shot in the leg with live ammunition last Tuesday while he was near the border with his friends were widely shared on social media. The bullet reportedly exploded below his knee, causing irreparable damage to the tissue.
Today at the Al-Buraij #GreatReturnMarch camp in #Gaza, a 12 YEAR OLD boy, Abdurahman Nofal, was shot in the leg by an Israeli sniper. He is likely to lose his lower leg.#Palestine #HumanRights#NoWayToTreatAChild pic.twitter.com/fq6yVKd98E
— #NoJusticeNoPeace (@PalsJustice) April 17, 2018
Despite being taken to two hospitals in Gaza, before being transferred to the West Bank for treatment, doctors were unable to save his leg and were forced to amputate the limb.
Nawfal told reporters from his bed in Ramallah that he dreamed of becoming a doctor and would still like to try and work towards that goal.
Nawfal is one of at least 500 Gazan children who have been shot by Israeli forces in the past month. Israel's violent response to protests on the border as part of the Great March of Return has drawn international condemnation; over 1,700 people have been wounded as a result of live fire, resulting in injuries of such severity that Gaza doctors say they did not even see in Israel's "Operation Protective Edge" in 2014.
The global NGO Doctors Without Borders said last week that its medical teams were dealing "with devastating injuries of an unusual severity, which are extremely complex to treat. The injuries sustained by patients will leave most with serious, long-term physical disabilities".
The death toll since the protests began rose to 39 yesterday, after two Gazans succumbed to their wounds in hospital. 18-year-old Tahrir Mahmoud Wahba, who was deaf, died yesterday morning, after having been shot with live ammunition by Israeli forces two weeks ago in the southern Gaza Strip district of Khan Younis near Al-Awdeh refugee camp. Abdullah Muhammad Al-Shamali, 20, also died on Sunday night due to injuries he sustained during the most recent demonstrations on Friday.
Last week the death of 14-year-old Mohammad Ayoub, who was shot in the head despite being some 150 metres away from the border, prompted UN Special Envoy for the Middle East Peace Process Nikolay Mladenov to take to Twitter, demanding Israel "Stop shooting at children".
The massive nonviolent protests in Gaza have seen thousands of Palestinian refugees come out to demand their collective right of return to their homeland.
The six-week protest is set to end on 15 May, the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, or "catastrophe" when the state of Israel was created after the forced displacement of nearly a million Palestinians.
Prior to last week's protests, UN human rights experts condemned "the continued use of firearms, including live ammunition" by Israeli forces "against mostly unarmed Palestinian protesters and observers", calling on Israel to uphold its responsibilities under international law.