BEIRUT: Palestinian photojournalist Yasser Murtaja passed away Friday overnight after being shot in the abdomen by Israeli forces during his coverage of protests along the Israel-Gaza border earlier in the day.
“I wish the day will come when I will capture this photo from the air and not the ground. My name is Yasser Murtaja. I’m 30-years-old, and I live in Gaza. I never traveled,” Murtaja wrote in his last Facebook post, referring to Gaza port.
Gaza's Health Ministry said Saturday that Murtaja succumbed to his wounds along with another person, raising Friday’s death toll to nine.
More than 1500 Palestinians have been wounded and dozens killed since Palestinians started the 'Great March of Return' last week. The protesters are demanding the right to return to their hometowns in historical Palestine, which Israel occupied in 1948.
AP reported that Murtaga was shot in the southern town of Khuzaa. The news agency said Murtaga was over 100 meters from the border, wearing a flak jacket marked “press” and holding his camera when he was shot.
Murtaja, is the co-founder of Ain Media production company, which has produced work for Al Jazeera Documentaries, BBC Arabic, VICE, Alaraby TV, UNICEF, UNRWA and Oxfam amongst others, Middle East Monitor reported.
23-year-old Mohamad Siyam, from Gaza, tells Annahar that he used to see the journalist taking photos at protests among other occasions.
In an Instagram message to Annahar, Siyam, a law graduate, said Yasser has always dreamt of traveling.
Instagram message sent by Mohamad Siyam to Annahar, showing a previous Facebook post by Yasser Murtaja. The post mentions that security measures in Sinai stopped Murtaja from traveling when he thought he had the chance.
Mohamad Madhoun, a Palestinian journalist currently studying at SOAS, told Annahar that he usually spotted Murtaja while he was covering events as part of “Al Wataniya lil Iilam” in Gaza in 2014.
“He was a very ambitious, strong, and sweet person,” Madhoun said, adding that “It’s a pity that Palestinians being killed have only become numbers counted.”
Friends mourned Murtaja on his timeline, and in one picture, he seemed to be smiling while flying a drone camera.
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