In what is being called the deadliest day in Gaza since the 2014 war, Israeli forces killed over 60 Palestinians and wounded more than 2,000 people – including a Canadian doctor who was shot while trying to provide medical assistance to a wounded civilian.
Dr. Tarek Loubani, a physician from Ontario, is also an associate professor at the University of Western Ontario’s medical school with some experience serving in war zones. According to The Globe and Mail, he worked as a field doctor in Tanzania, Iraq and southern Lebanon and was currently in Gaza, and is currently present in Gaza as part of a medical team tending to those injured by Israeli gunfire during protests against the opening of U.S. embassy in Jerusalem.
It was during one of those moments Loubani was reportedly targeted by an Israeli sniper.
“I am very seasoned about not being shot at. I know where to stand. I know where to be. I know how not to get shot,” he told the publication in a telephone interview. “Snipers don’t reach me because of mistakes. I did everything right. We were all huddled. We were high visibility. It was quiet at the exact moment I got shot. The bullet went through my left leg, through my right leg out and hit the ground.”
The physicians, who is under treatment at a Gaza hospital, said he was wearing green surgeon’s outfit during the violent demonstration. Not only that, he was standing with a group of paramedics in orange vests, not protesting against the brutal Israeli regime, when a bullet pierced his leg.
“I remember looking at my shoes and I remember thinking, ‘My god, how did so much blood get there so fast’,” Loubani continued. “One of them grabbed one of the last tourniquets. We were down to our last 10 tourniquets. I said ‘No, no leave it for someone else. Try to pressure bandage me.’ ’’
The doctor said 36-year old Musa Abuhassanin was among the Palestinian paramedics who helped him, but an Israeli sniper didn’t spare him either.
“There was relatively heavy fire that was going on. He was wearing a high visibility jacket. It was clearly marked. He was shot in the chest,” Loubani recalled. “They couldn’t remove him. They couldn’t recover him for about 30 minutes until finally they dragged him to a blind spot and then dragged him down a hill and took him to the hospital in a civilian vehicle. He died before he got to the hospital.”
This is not the first time Israeli forces have made headlines for killing non-protesters since the Great March of Return began.
A 30-year-old Palestinian journalist, Yaser Murtaja, was covering the protests near the Gaza-Israel border wearing a blue flak vest with the word “press” written across it, clearly identifying him as a member of the press. He was shot in the abdomen by Israeli forces and eventually succumbed to his wounds.
Similarly, 24-year-old freelance photographer Ahmad Abu Hussein was hit with expanding “dum-dum” bullets in the abdomen. He was transferred from one hospital to another and the doctors had to remove parts of his pancreas and liver, which was badly damaged. But that wasn’t enough to save him.
Thumbnail/Banner: Reuters, Ibraheem Abu Mustafa