“Seeing the injured in front of me gave me the courage to provide them the needed service,” Qudih said. (AP Photo/Adel Hana)
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KHUZAA, Palestine: Each Friday, volunteer medic Asmaa Qudih goes through a tense ritual: She prays, kisses her mother's hand and packs a bag with medical supplies as she heads off to work at the weekly mass protests along Gaza's border fence with Israel. Treating the wounded has become dangerous for Gaza's emergency workers. In the past five months, three medics were killed by Israeli army fire, while dozens more, including Qudih, were hurt by live fire or tear gas canisters.Qudih never planned to work at the protests, which are aimed in part at trying to break a blockade of Gaza imposed by Israel and Egypt to weaken Hamas.In five months of marches, 171 Palestinians have been killed and about 4,500 others have been wounded by gunfire, according to Gaza health officials and rights groups.Among the dead have been three paramedics, including Razan al-Najjar, a 21-year-old woman who also worked as a volunteer with Qudih in the Khuzaa protest camp. All wore white or fluorescent uniforms identifying themselves as medics.It came under similar criticism during a 2014 war with Hamas in which 11 paramedics were killed and 24 ambulances destroyed, according to Al-Mezan.
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