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Malta protests to Israel over shooting of national in Gaza


25 April 2010

Malta filed an official protest with Israel on Sunday after a Maltese woman was shot and injured by Israel Defense Forces soldiers during a protest in Gaza on Saturday.

In a statement, the Maltese Foreign Ministry said it “deplored and condemned in the strongest possible terms” the shooting of Bianca Zammit in Gaza on Saturday. The protest note was sent to the Israeli government via the Maltese Embassy in Israel.

Malta said the Israeli soldiers’ attack was “totally unwarranted” and called for a thorough investigation into the incident which took place near a refugee camp.

A foreign ministry spokesman said Malta expects a thorough investigation of the incident, which could have led to far more serious consequences. Two others were injured in the incident.

Foreign Minister Tonio Borg is expected to raise the issue on Monday during a meeting of European Union foreign ministers.

Zammit, 28, a pro-Palestinian activist, is being treated at the Al-Aqsa hospital after she was shot in the leg during the protest near the Al-Maghazi refugee camp in Deir Al-Balah, central Gaza. A bullet went through a muscle in one of her legs but missed the bone.

Speaking from hospital, Zammit told The Sunday Times of Malta: “We were not doing anything illegal. I don’t expect to be shot for holding a Palestinian flag or holding a camera, especially since we were chanting peaceful songs.”

The protestors were pushing into a 300-metre-deep area declared as a no-go zone by Israel on the Gaza side of the frontier last January.