Palestinian protester killed by Israeli soldiers

Saturday, June 6, 2009

A Palestinian was shot and killed by Israeli forces today while protesting the separation wall in the West Bank village of Nilin. Another protester, who is 15, was wounded.

Aqel Srur, who was 35, died in an ambulance while en route to a local hospital. He had been fatally shot once in the heart. Palestinians were fired upon by Israeli forces after they began to throw stones at the soldiers. Palestinian officials say Srur was shot once with a single round of live ammunition, something an Israeli Defense Force (IDF) spokesperson could not confirm.

According to the spokesperson, the IDF used "riot dispersal means," which included metal bullets coated with rubber and tear gas.

Srur was protesting Israel's separation barrier, which spans 723km and surrounds West Bank cities, separating them from one another. Israel says the separation walls are needed for security reasons, but Palestinians say it turns their villages into prisons.

Palestinian and international activists have gathered almost every Friday for the last two years to protest the separation barrier in Nilin. In many cases the protests end with violence. In April, Basem Abu Rahmeh, age 30 was shot and killed by Israeli forces, also while protesting the Israeli separation wall in Bilin.

Construction of the wall began in 2002 and is set to surround the West Bank which was annexed by Israel in 1967. In 2004 it was deemed illegal by the International Court of Justice.