Associated Press
December 10, 2011 - 1:00am

A Palestinian protester who had been struck in the face by a tear gas canister fired by an Israeli soldier at close range died of his wounds on Saturday, activists said. They accused the army of using disproportionate force.

The protester, Mustafa Tamimi, 28, was hurling rocks at a military vehicle on Friday in the West Bank village of Nabi Saleh when a soldier inside opened the rear door and fired at him from a few yards away, witnesses said.

Photographs taken by a pro-Palestinian activist from Israel, Haim Schwarczenberg, show Mr. Tamimi rushing after the armored military vehicle. Mr. Tamimi, who the photographer said had been throwing rocks, then crumples to the ground a few steps from the vehicle.

He died of his wounds at Rabin Medical Center in central Israel, said another pro-Palestinian activist from Israel, Jonathan Pollak.

“The question is not whether the person is throwing stones or not throwing stones,” Mr. Pollak said. “The question is whether the army is allowed to use deadly force from within an armored vehicle.”

The army’s use of the gas canisters has come under sharp criticism in the past few years. Military officials say they are using the gas to quell violent demonstrations. The canisters are meant to push back crowds by emitting choking, acrid smoke, but some troops have fired them directly at demonstrators.

Tensions also simmered along Israel’s border with Gaza, where mourners buried a 12-year-old Palestinian killed in an Israeli airstrike on Friday. Militants there fired two rockets at Israel on Saturday. No one was injured, a military spokeswoman said.


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