Woman who saved lives, loses her own in Gaza violence while fasting

Gaza: Razan al-Najjar, 20, a young paramedic was killed in Gaza violence on Friday, while she was fasting. Ms. Najjar was one of the first medical volunteers at the Khan Younis protest camp. She took up the job to prove that women had a role to play in the conservative society of Gaza. She was the 119th Palestinian killed since the protests began in March.


Just before her death also she ran forward to aid a demonstrator for the last time. She was bandaging the man struck by the tear gas canister. According to an eye witness, the two or three bullets fired by the Israeli soldiers from across the fence, hit Najjar in the upper body. Ibrahim al-Najjar who is Najjar’s relative said after the man was taken away in an ambulance, other paramedics tended to Ms. Najjar, who was suffering the effects of the tear gas. At the same time the shots rang out and Najjar fell to the ground. She was rushed to the hospital in serious condition where she died in the operating room. Ibrahim who carried her to the hospital said, “Razan was not shooting,” “Razan was saving souls and treating the wounded.”

On Saturday, a group of United Nations agencies issued a statement expressing outrage over the killing of “a clearly identified medical staffer,” calling it “particularly reprehensible.”

Najjar was a resident of Khuzaa. Her father, Ashraf al-Najjar, had a shop that sold motorcycle parts, which was destroyed in an Israeli airstrike during the 2014 war between Israel and the militant group. He has since been unemployed. Najjar the eldest of six children got training for two years as a paramedic at the Nasser hospital in Khan Younis and became a volunteer of the Palestinian Medical Relief Society, a nongovernmental health organization.

Mr. Najjar, 44, said his daughter rose before dawn on Friday to eat and pray before the start of the daily, sunrise-to-sunset Ramadan fast. That was the last time he saw her.

Najjar used to say “We have one goal,” “to save lives and evacuate people. And to send a message to the world: Without weapons, we can do anything.”

In a video interview on Saturday, a woman identified as Ms. Najjar’s mother held up a blood-soaked vest and said, “This is my daughter’s weapon with which she was fighting the Zionists.” The woman also held up two unopened bandage rolls she said she found in the vest and said, “These were her ammunition.”