Skip To Content

BuzzFeed News

People Are Sharing Powerful Tributes To The Woman Medic Who Was Shot Dead In Gaza

Twitter users are posting photos of Razan al-Najjar with the hashtag #AngelOfMercy.

Razan al-Najjar, 21, was shot dead by Israeli soldiers on the border between Israel and Gaza over the weekend.


Najjar was shot with live ammunition east of Khan Younis, Gaza, at around 6:30 p.m. on Friday, the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) confirmed.

She had apparently intended to pull an injured protester, who had managed to cut through the wire fence separating the territories, back to safety and treatment. It was then that members of the Israel Defense Forces opened fire, first with tear gas, then using live ammunition.

Fellow medical worker Rida Najjar (no relation to Razan Najjar) told Al Jazeera it was clear as they approached the fence they were aid workers: "There were no other protesters around, it was just us."

"Razan at first didn’t realize she had been shot, but then she started crying out, 'My back, my back!' and then she fell on the ground," Najjar said.

She was taken to the European Gaza Hospital, where she was recorded dead that evening.

Anonymous accounts reported by Reuters also describe Najjar approaching the border with her hands clearly in the air.

A woman identified as Najjar's mother, Sabreen, spoke about her daughter as she clutched a blood-stained medical vest with a single hole in it.

Thousands attended her funeral, with observers saying the mosque was so full that people stood on the rooftops and streets around to pay their respects to her.

MAHMUD HAMS/AFP / Getty Images

During the funeral, where her coffin was draped in the Palestinian flag, her father brandished her bloodstained white medical vest.

Said Khatib / AFP / Getty Images

She has become an international symbol of the violence in Gaza, with thousands of tweets celebrating her work and life.

Twitter: @postirooni

"She literally gave everything," her cousin Dalia al-Najjar told BuzzFeed News.

Dalia, 22, who spoke from Istanbul where she had received the news, said her aunt, Najjar's mother, always described her daughter as like a "butterfly."

"She was someone who spread love and positivity around her," she said. "She’d be jumping around, touching everyone, making everyone happy."

"After Ramadan, we have the Eid celebration, so she bought new clothes for all her siblings but one, and she said, 'I’ll do it next week.' But she couldn’t," Dalia said.

"She is a fighter for peace," Dalia said, describing how her cousin would log 10 hours out in the field evacuating and treating the wounded, even during Ramadan when many other first responders were struggling to cope. "Every day, with all her clothes covered in blood [she would come home], and her mother would tell her, 'Why would you do this to yourself?'

"Her message to the world is that without weapons we can do everything. She is a symbol for peace."

Dalia said her cousin was "a great person, a great person. I would love people to honor that and to learn what she has been doing and be like her. A kind, selfless person."

Many also shared tributes to the medical worker, under the Arabic hashtag #ملاك_الرحمة (#AngelOfMercy).

Najjar is the 119th person have been killed by Israeli forces in the latest round of demonstrations, part of what has become known as the #GreatReturnMarch.

The killings have provoked international outrage, with humanitarian bodies condemning the violence. In addition to medical workers, journalists have been targeted by members of the IDF. Roughly 13,000 people have also been injured, according to Al Jazeera.

Photographer Ashraf Amra, who worked out on the fields in Gaza documenting the protests, told BuzzFeed News he knew and remembered Najjar.

Ashraf Amra

He said she had treated many people in front of him, and anyone who knew her was in awe of her bravery during the protests.

"She was like an angel walking on the ground. We lost a friend, a dear friend, to our hearts."

Before her death, Najjar spoke about being a woman in the field. “Being a medic is not only a job for a man,” she told the New York Times. “It’s for women, too.”

Said Khatib / AFP / Getty Images

Najjar's cousin described her as a fierce female activist, pushing to be allowed out in the field with the men as one of the first responders helping the injured.

"She encouraged other female first responders to join, and made it OK for the community to say that, yeah, female first responders can be on the field, they can help. She gained a lot of respect on the local level," Dalia said. "Everyone admired her courage. She would go face-to-face with the soldiers and she would evacuate injured people."

BuzzFeed News has contacted the IDF for comment.

Ibraheem Abu Mustafa / Reuters

In a statement, released on Friday, the organization said it would investigate Najjar's death.

"The IDF constantly works to draw operational lessons and reduce the number of casualties in the area of the Gaza Strip security fence. Unfortunately, the Hamas terror organization deliberately and methodically places civilians in danger," the statement read.