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Abu Dhabi, UAESaturday 15 December 2018

MSF 'working to verify' reports worker shot at troops on Gaza border

Hani Majdalawi fired shots and threw grenades at Israeli forces

Medics evacuate a wounded youth while others run to cover from teargas fired by Israeli troops near the Gaza Strip border with Israel. AP
Medics evacuate a wounded youth while others run to cover from teargas fired by Israeli troops near the Gaza Strip border with Israel. AP

Aid group Medecins Sans Frontieres (Doctors Without Borders) is investigating whether one of its employees was a gunman shot and killed by Israeli forces on the Gaza border this week.

Israeli authorities named a gunman shot and killed on Monday after trying to cross the border, shooting at soldiers and throwing grenades, as Hani Majdalawi.

The organisation later confirmed in a statement that Majdalawi had been killed but did not elaborate.

“MSF is working to verify and understand the circumstances regarding this extremely serious incident, and is not able to comment further at this stage,” it said.

Israel has maintained a crippling siege on the coastal enclave since 2007, blocking goods coming in and out of the territory. It also controls Gaza’s airspace and sea border, where it has imposed a naval blockade.

In weekly protests against the siege since March 30, Israeli forces have killed at least 170 Palestinians, many of them unarmed, and wounded hundreds, the majority targeted in the lower limbs by snipers aiming to maim them.

MSF’s website says the group runs three burns and trauma centres in Gaza, whose Hamas rulers have fought three wars against Israel in the last decade.

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MSF has around 200 local and foreign staff in Gaza and in May the charity condemned Israel's use of force in border protests as "unacceptable and inhuman".

Gaza authorities did not confirm Majdalawi's death, saying that would require having his body, which they believed was being held by Israel. The Israeli military said it could not immediately confirm this.

No armed Palestinian factions claimed Majdalawi as a member.

Responding to Israeli media reports on Majdalawi's killing, his brother, Osama, described the married 28-year-old on Facebook as a "martyr" who had "bought the weapon with his own money" and acted "completely independently".

The Facebook post said Hani Majdalawi had worked for Doctors Without Borders and that he had been "the most socially, psychologically and economically stable among his brothers".