JERUSALEM (Ma’an) — A 55-year-old Palestinian lost an eye after he was hit by a sponge-tipped bullet while seeking shelter from clashes between Israeli soldiers and Palestinian youths in Shufat refugee camp in East Jerusalem Sunday.
Video footage caught on a surveillance camera in a grocery shop showed the moment Nafiz Dmeiri sought refuge from the clashes inside the shop and was shot in the face.He was evacuated to Hadassah Medical Center in Ein Kerem in West Jerusalem.
An Israeli human rights group, the Association for Civil Rights in Israel, said in a statement that Dmeiri is deaf and mute, has one child and works at a tailor shop.The statement called on Israeli police to stop using “black sponge bullets during riot dispersal.”Dmeiri was one of two Palestinians injured during the clashes that broke out after “undercover” Israeli forces raided a clothing store inside the camp to make an arrest.A Fatah spokesman in the camp, Thaer Fasfous, told Ma’an that Israeli forces had opened fire on local residents “indiscriminately,” hitting Dmeiri in the eye and another man in the upper body.According to Israeli rights group B’Tselem, sponge-tipped bullets “are made of 40-mm-diameter plastic with a sponge tip intended to reduce the bodily injury it causes.
“They were introduced after the use of rubber-coated steel bullets was prohibited within Israel, and are commonly used in occupied East Jerusalem, though rarely in the West Bank.
B’Tselem said that sponge-tipped bullets, “if used according to the safety regulations, (are) less dangerous than a rubber-coated metal bullet.”However, the group said it had documented a number of instances where “police officers have fired sponge rounds unlawfully, in blatant violation of the regulations, resulting in injury to Palestinians… (and) in the loss of an eye in at least one case.”
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