‘My Football Career is Over’: Gaza Athlete Who Lost His Leg to Israeli Bullet Speaks of His Ordeal

Two young Palestinian athletes had their dreams shattered after being shot during the recent Gaza protests. They told RT Arabic how the encounter with Israeli soldiers saw their sports careers vanish.

The youths relayed their stories as the ‘Great Return March’ entered its fifth week. Both athletes were present at the rallies to mark the mass exodus of Palestinians from their land in 1947-48 ahead of the establishment of the State of Israel.

As the stand-off turned violent, a bullet fired by an Israeli soldier tore into the right leg of Mohammed al-Ajoury, a 17-year-old Gazan. He was treated for the gunshot wound but, when his condition became life-threatening, the leg had to be amputated.

Al-Ajoury, who spent six hours in surgery and then one week in intensive care unit, told RT:

I was an athlete, I used to play multiple sports and I used to play for the Palestinian Union, he said with a bitter smile. The 17-year old recalled that the Israeli soldiers were brutally shooting people, saying that an old man was hit by an explosive bullet in front of him. He was protesting peacefully and was not throwing any stones, al-Ajouri said.

Life has also become miserable for Mohammed Abed, a promising Palestinian football player, who was also shot in the leg by Israeli soldiers. During my football career, I hoped to be one of the best players in Gaza, Abed told RT. After this injury, my football career is over.

The former athlete was filming himself during the protests in order to post the footage to social media. While I was filming, a sniper shot me in the knee and it was dislocated, he explained from his bed.

I was targeted without warning, I wasn’t a threat to the soldiers at all, Abed reiterated.

Hospitals in the Gaza Strip are often unable to treat traumatic injuries, international aid groups warn, because medical facilities are often overwhelmed and understaffed.

Marie-Elisabeth Ingres, who heads Doctors Without Borders’ (MSF) Palestine mission, told RT that the group had treated 147 gunshot victims in the last week, despite medical supplies and surgeons being in short supply.

Ingres said that many of the injured will need weeks or even months to recover. For Palestinians who have been shot, medical treatment is not only a question of one day, she said.

Human Rights groups have recently denounced the Israeli army tactics, pointing out that the use of live ammunition to any part of human’s body has the potential to kill.

Source: Palestine Chronicle