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Man shot with live ammunition during protest for Vittorio

15 April 2011 | Popular Struggle Coordination Committee

Bilin Protester Shot with Live Ammunition by Sniper

Soldier throws rocks at protesters (Simon Kreiger - pic)

The protester, a 35 year old resident of the village was hit in his shoulder and foot by 0.22 mm live bullets shot at him by a sniper during a protest in memory of Vittorio Arrigoni, murdered last night in Gaza.

Around 300 people participated in the weekly demonstration against the Wall in the village of Bilin today. This week’s march was dedicated to the memory of Italian activist Vittorio Arrigoni, and protested his murder in Gaza City last night. As the peaceful procession approached the gate in the Wall, soldiers immediately began shooting tear gas projectiles at the protesters.

While most protesters were forced to retreat due to the gas, smaller groups of protesters remained in the area of the Wall, where clashes ensued. At some point, Samir Bournat, a 35 year-old resident of the village and regular demonstrator, noted that a sniper was aiming his rifle at a group of protesters standing near the iron gate in the Wall. He approached in order to warn them, and was shot by the sniper twice. One bullet hit his right shoulder, while a second bullet penetrated his left foot.

A Red Crescent ambulance which rushed to the sport to evacuate Burnat was also attacked with tear-gas projectiles shot directly at him by the soldiers. Burnat was eventually taken to the hospital in Ramallah, where an x-ray was taken and proved beyond a shadow of doubt that he was indeed hit by 0.22″ caliber live bullets.

A short while after Burnat’s injury, a few Border Police officers crossed the Wall in the direction of the village and proceeded to clash with the youth using tear-gas and rubber-coated steel bullets. Moreover, one of the soldiers, even threw rocks at protesters.

Following a number of deaths and subsequent ballistic tests held at the Adam military shooting range in 2001, the Judge Advocate General ordered the classification of 0.22″ bullet changed from “less-lethal” to “live ammunition”, forbidden for use as crowd control means. Despite the classification change, the Israeli Army resumed using these bullets against demonstrators, causing at least two deaths – 14 year-old Az ad-Din al-Jamal from Hebron on February 13th, 2009, and Aqel Srour from Ni’ilin on June 5th, 2009.

Two other protesters who were lightly injured were treated by a medical team on the ground and did not require being evacuated to the hospital.