“As I look back at the incident, I wonder what danger has slain Sedki Abu Ateiwi, a disarmed cleaner, posed to the heavily-armed Israeli soldiers to be killed in the blink of an eye?” a relative of the casualty told a news agency.

Shortly before nightfall on Friday (13/4/2018), Israeli snipers gunned down 45-year-old Sedki Abu Ateiwi as he joined the Great March of Return protests staged near Gaza’s border fence.

The victim was fatally shot down by Israeli snipers as he stood hundreds of meters away from them and posed no threat to them, according to witness accounts.

Abu Ateiwi, a cleaner at the Nuseirat refugee camp’s municipality, breathed his last after Israeli snipers fired at him from a distance of nearly 400 meters.

The man is the father of seven sons and daughters, among them four children, the youngest of whom aged five years old.

Eyewitness Mahmoud Jaber who was at the murder scene said on that day the Israeli military targeted the protesters with randomly-discharged spates of live bullets and teargas canisters.

“I caught sight of a young man injured in his leg some eight meters away from where I was standing and 350 meters away from the Israeli-built border fence. Shortly after, a bullet penetrated Abu Ateiwi’s neck. He fell on the ground immediately,” he added.

“Dozens of young men ran away for fear of being killed, before they returned to the scene and carried the victim to an ambulance. He was in a critical condition and was pronounced dead moments after he arrived at the hospital,” according to the eyewitness.

The casualty’s brother, Mohamed, said Abu Ateiwi was a simple man and that, like thousands of Palestinians, he joined the peaceful protests to speak up for his people’s right of return.

“My brother was shot dead while posing no threat to the occupation (Israeli) army. He was assassinated as he peacefully gathered with other protesters. The crime is a sign of Israel’s moral bankruptcy. How dare they kill peaceful protesters?” he said.

“His children are now orphaned. He had been the family’s sole breadwinner,” the brother added.

Abu Ateiwi’s supervisor, Ismail al-Muqadma, mourned the casualty, whom he said was a prototype of self-discipline and kindness.