Gaza patients: fist- sized bullet wounds

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Gazan victim suffering massive bullet wound in his leg
Gazan victim suffering massive bullet wound in his leg

WORKING in Gaza on patients hit by Israeli fire, medical teams noted ‘the injuries include an extreme level of destruction to bones and soft tissue, and large exit wounds that can be the size of a fist.’ This was the conclusions of a recently released report from Doctors Without Borders (MSF). The description of the injuries matches that of expanding bullets, also known as dumdum bullets which are illegal in warfare.

The Hague Convention of 1899, Declaration III, prohibited the use in international warfare of ‘bullets that easily expand or flatten in the body’. Doctors at Gaza’s Shifa Hospital said they have not seen such severe injuries since the Israeli regime’s latest war on Gaza in 2014.

Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, MSF’s head of mission in Palestine, said half of the more than 500 patients the group has admitted in its clinics have injuries where the bullet has literally destroyed tissue after having pulverised the bone. ‘These patients will need to have very complex surgical operations and most of them will have disabilities for life,’ she said.

Palestinian and foreign doctors say the live fire used by Israeli troops has caused ‘unusually severe injuries’ among protesters in the besieged Gaza Strip over the past month. Anti-occupation protests along the Israeli fence separating Gaza from the rest of the territories have led to clashes with Israeli forces.

The rallies, dubbed the ‘Great March of Return,’ will last until May 15, which coincides with the 70th anniversary of Nakba Day (Day of Catastrophe). The report stated that Gaza doctors had performed 17 amputations – 13 legs and four arms.

Meanwhile two young Palestinians died of Israeli gunshot wounds in Gaza yesterday. Mahmoud Wahba, 17, who had been wounded by Israeli snipers in Gaza on April 1, died on Monday morning, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. According to his brother, medics informed them of Mahmoud’s death just hours after they got permission to take him abroad for treatment.

The other victim, Abdullah Shamali, 20, died overnight of ‘bullet wounds to his belly’ sustained last Friday in Rafah, near the fence separating Gaza from the Israeli-occupied lands, according to the ministry. He was one of five Palestinian protesters, including a 15-year-old, identified as Mohammed Ibrahim Ayyoub, killed or fatally wounded in Gaza on Friday.

The recent fatalities bring to 40 the death toll from Israel’s use of lethal force since the start of protests along the Gaza border on March 30. More than 4,000 have so far been wounded, according to the Palestinian Health Ministry. Over 700 alone sustained injuries near the border fence on Friday, it added.