Eyewitness account: Raw nerves and shots fired

A group of Palestinian women who had gathered near the fence were standing next to another woman when she was shot. (photo: Declan Walsh / The New York Times)

A reporter’s account of a sniper shooting at the Gaza-Israel fence.

By Declan Walsh | The New York Times | May 13, 2018


I finally learned the wounded woman’s name — Alaa Asawafiri — when I found her mother in a hospital corridor, her cheeks smeared with tears, clutching her daughter’s silver sneakers in a plastic bag.


A nervous frisson ran through the crowd as it pushed toward the fence between Gaza and Israel on Sunday evening, halting 75 feet from the wire.

I had traveled to Gaza from Cairo ahead of what are expected to be enormous demonstrations at the border fence this week. I wanted to first see the site of the protests on what I thought would be an uneventful evening.

It did not turn out that way.

As clusters of Gazans milled about, Israeli snipers watched from the other side, barely visible in their fortified perches.

I watched as a group of young Palestinian women stepped forward, in dark cloaks and colorful sneakers, gesticulating wildly. “This is our land, not yours!” yelled one.

Then, suddenly, two bullets slammed into the ground in front of them, kicking up puffs of dust.

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