Artificial limbs change lives for wounded Gaza protesters
Walking up and down stairs at a Gaza medical centre, Palestinian amputees are learning to use their new artificial limbs after being wounded by Israeli fire at border protests.
The Health Ministry in the Hamas Islamist-run territory said 136 wounded Palestinians have undergone amputations since the demonstrations began in March 2018.
"It was only one bullet, one bullet turned my life upside down," said Abdallah Qassem, 17, struggling to stand steady while trying on his new artificial legs.
Qassem said the bullet struck one leg and then penetrated the other as he sat on the ground with friends at a rally on May 14, the day the United States moved its embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem, fuelling Palestinian anger.
"I had dreamt of becoming a photojournalist, but I aim to study computer science," he said.
The Gaza Artificial Limb and Polio Centre is run by the Gaza municipality. On its first floor, technicians were producing limbs with material from the International Committee of the Red Cross.
Protesters at the demonstrations are demanding the end to a security blockade imposed on Gaza by Israel and Egypt and want Palestinians to have the right to return to land from which their families fled or were forced to leave during Israel's founding in 1948.
Around 200 Gazans have been killed by Israeli troops so far in the protests, according to Palestinian Health Ministry figures. An Israeli soldier was also killed by a Palestinian sniper in July.
UN investigators say Israel has used excessive force. Israel says it has no choice but to use deadly force to protect the border from militants and infiltrators.