Symbol of resistance — Palestinian who lost legs in 2008 clash — is gone

Wheelchair-bound Palestinian demonstrator Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh waves a Palestinian flag during a protest along the Gaza-Israel border on Dec. 15. (AFP)
Updated 16 December 2017
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Symbol of resistance — Palestinian who lost legs in 2008 clash — is gone

GAZA CITY: Since Ibrahim Abu Thurayeh lost his legs in an Israeli attack a decade ago, he and his wheelchair have been a regular feature at protests along Gaza’s border with Israel.
On Friday, he became one of four Palestinians to be killed in a day of protest against a US decision to move its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.
Pictures of Abu Thurayeh at protests along the border were being circulated widely among Palestinians Friday after it was confirmed he had been shot dead during clashes.
The unmarried 29-year-old had lived at home with his parents and had been without regular work since the 2008 incident in which he lost his legs.
That happened during an Israeli incursion east of Al-Bureij refugee camp in central Gaza in April 2008.
Israel and Gaza’s rulers Hamas have fought three wars since then.
“He was injured in 2008 by an Israeli helicopter that targeted him after he brought down the Israeli flag and raised the Palestinian flag along the border,” his brother Samir told AFP after his death was confirmed on Friday.
“It did not stop him from demonstrating for Jerusalem. He went alone every day to the border.”
AFP photographers have seen him at multiple demonstrations in recent years.
In video footage recorded early on Friday, Abu Thurayeh could be seen carrying the Palestinian flag and waving the victory sign at Israeli soldiers across the border.
“I want to go there,” he says, referring to the other side of the border, as a number of young men surrounding him wave Palestinian flags and others throw stones toward the troops.
It is incredibly difficult for Palestinians from Gaza to get Israeli permits to visit Jerusalem.
“This land is our land, we will not give up. America has to withdraw its decision,” Abu Thurayeh said in another video posted on social media.
A few hours before his death, despite having no legs he climbed an electricity pole to raise the Palestinian flag, eyewitnesses and journalists present said.
What happened after that remains unclear.
Several thousand Palestinians along the Gaza border threw stones at Israeli soldiers, with clashes lasting for several hours.
Two men were killed, including Abu Thurayeh.
The Palestinian Health Ministry in Gaza claimed he was shot in the head by a sniper.
Israel has maintained a blockade of Gaza for a decade.
Critics say it amounts to collective punishment for the strip’s two million residents, who suffer from electricity shortages and pollution.


Syria state media says US-led coalition hits regime position in east

Washington said the strikes were in retaliation for an attack on its own personnel and SDF forces. (AFP)
Updated 52 min 30 sec ago
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Syria state media says US-led coalition hits regime position in east

  • In the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and Syrian government forces have carried out parallel but separate offensives against Daesh
  • Regime forces control land west of the Euphrates River that runs through the province

DAMASCUS: Syrian state media said overnight Sunday to Monday that US-led coalition aircraft had carried out a deadly strike on a regime position in the country’s east near the Iraqi border.
Both US-backed Kurdish-led fighters and Russia-supported regime forces are separately fighting the Daesh jihadist group in Syria’s eastern province of Deir Ezzor.
“Aircraft of the American coalition bombarded one of our military positions in the area of Al-Hari southeast of Albu Kamal” town in Deir Ezzor, state news agency SANA reported a military source as saying, adding a number of people had been killed.
Daesh overran large swathes of Syria and neighboring Iraq in 2014, declaring a “caliphate” in areas they controlled.
But the jihadists have since lost most of that territory, in Syria seeing their presence largely reduced to the country’s vast desert and a few villages near the frontier with Iraq.
In the oil-rich province of Deir Ezzor, the US-backed Syrian Democratic Forces and Syrian government forces have carried out parallel but separate offensives against Daesh.
Regime forces control land west of the Euphrates River that runs through the province, while the SDF are battling to expel IS from a string of villages on the river’s eastern banks near the Iraqi border.
Both sides have mostly avoided running into each other and a deconfliction line exists to avoid such incidents.
But there have been exceptions.
In April, rare clashes broke out between both sides, killing more than a dozen combatants.
In February, the US-led coalition backing the SDF carried out air strikes in Deir Ezzor province that killed at least 100 pro-regime fighters.
Washington said the strikes were in retaliation for an attack on its own personnel and SDF forces.