When he lifted the cover off the face of the man whose heart he could not resuscitate from an Israeli bullet, Palestinian nurse Elias al-Ashqar received the shock of his life.
“Oh God, this is my father!” Elias cried repeatedly inside the emergency room of the al-Najah Hospital in Nablus, in a harrowing moment caught on video during the Israeli army’s deadly raid on the city on Wednesday.
The story of the nurse and his slain father, 61-year-old Abdelhadi al-Ashqar, a retired UNRWA staff member, has caused outrage online, among wider anger about Israel’s killing of 11 Palestinians and injuring more than 100 others that day.
Abdelhadi was one of three senior citizens to be killed, with the other two men aged 72 and 66.
Israeli forces stormed the occupied West Bank city with dozens of armoured vehicles and special forces at 10am on Wednesday triggering widespread confrontations.
At least 11 Palestinians were killed by Israeli forces during the raid, which, they said, was to arrest three Palestinian fighters.
The youngest victim was a boy of 16, Mohammad Farid Mohammad Haj Ahmad, who “was shot in the head by an Israeli soldier passing by in an armored Israeli military vehicle”, according to Defense for Children International-Palestine.
Mohammad was standing in front of a clinic at the time the armoured vehicle passed by, the organisation said.
At least 80 people were shot and injured with live ammunition and were transferred to Nablus’s Rafidia and Najah hospitals, where the staff were overwhelmed, head cardiology nurse Ahmed Aswad told the AP.
The 36-year-old medic added that he saw many patients shot in the chest, head and thighs. “They shot to kill,” he said.
In the Old City of Nablus, people were left with the blood-stained rubble of a home that was targeted with a missile. Israeli forces said the home was targeted because it sheltered two fighters. Bullet holes pocked shopfronts and homes, there was shock all around.
Palestinian political parties announced a general strike in the cities of Ramallah and Nablus on Wednesday in response, calling on Palestinians to come out in protest near Israeli army checkpoints.