Last updated: 9 December, 2011

West Bank protester critically hurt by Israel fire

A Palestinian was critically wounded Friday when he was hit in the face by a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops at a rally in the West Bank, medics and witnesses said.

Mustafa Abelrazek al-Tamimi, 28, was taking part in a protest against the West Bank barrier in Nabi Saleh, some 10 kilometres (six miles) northwest of Ramallah, when he was struck by the tear gas canister, medical officials said.

Critically wounded, he was immediately flown by helicopter to an Israeli hospital near Tel Aviv, they said.

Another three people were lightly injured by rubber bullets, they said.

Jonathan Pollak, a veteran Israeli activist who was at the demonstration, said Tamimi was shot at close range from a moving vehicle.

“He was shot from close range, around 20 metres, with a teargas projectile that hit him in the eye,” he told AFP.

“He was shot from within a moving vehicle. Most likely, he has lost his eye.”

He said three other people had sustained head injuries during the demonstration, which takes place every week in Nabi Saleh to protest against the route of the barrier.

A spokeswoman for the Israeli military said that around a hundred Palestinians had taken part in an “illegal demonstration, during which they hurled rocks at security forces, who responded with riot dispersal means.”

She said the army provided initial medical care to the wounded Palestinian and evacuated him to hospital, but could not provide further details on the incident, which she said was currently being investigated.