#GreatReturnMarch death toll reaches 17 after wounded Palestinian dies

#GreatReturnMarch death toll reaches 17 after wounded Palestinian dies
Faris al-Raqib, 29, has become the 17th casualty of Friday's Great Return March protests, after being shot and critically injured by Israeli forces while demonstrating unarmed in southern Gaza.
2 min read
02 April, 2018
Israeli forces throw tear gas at protesters in Khan Younis, southern Gaza [Getty]

A Palestinian man succumbed to his wounds on Monday, three days after being shot by Israeli forces, Gaza's health ministry said.

Faris al-Raqib, 29, was shot in the stomach during Friday's demonstrations east of Khan Younis in southern Gaza, which have been condemned as a massacre.

His death raises the death toll of the Great Return March protestors to 17.

Video footage from Gaza has shown Israeli snipers targeting unarmed and peaceful protesters, including those praying, with their backs turned to the Israel border.

Others who were shot were simply watching the protests from the sidelines. 

In photos taken before al-Raqib's injury, he is seen carrying one of the wounded away from the clashes. He was also reported to be unarmed when he was shot.

The demonstrations, which marked 70 years of forced displacement of Palestinians, and became one of the largest protests in recent years.

The protests drew tens of thousands of people, which soon became the deadliest day in Gaza since the 2014 war.

Some 1,600 Palestinians wounded, over 700 of them by live bullets and the remainder by rubber-coated steel bullets and tear gas inhalation. 

The UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres and the EU have joined the numerous rights groups and Palestinians calling for an independent investigation into Friday's killings, due to the staggering amount of live ammunition and lethal force used by Israeli forces against mostly peaceful protestors.

Israel have rejected calls for an investigation, with the military defending its actions by claiming that soldiers opened fire only when necessary against those throwing stones and firebombs or rolling tyres at soldiers. However video documentation of the protest show otherwise with unarmed and peaceful bystanders being targeted by deadly bullets.

There were no casualties among Israelis.

The Israeli military admitted on Saturday to killing 16 Palestinian protesters who were taking part in a peaceful demonstration along the Gaza-Israel border, but later deleted the statement.

The official Twitter account of the Israeli military posted a tweet stating the brutal tactics unleashed on unarmed protesters a day earlier were "measured and calculated", even suggesting it "knew where every bullet landed".