Canadian doctor killed in Gaza was a humanitarian and innovator

Canadian doctor killed in Gaza was a humanitarian and innovator

A Canadian doctor and activist who was helping injured protesters in Gaza was killed by Israeli fire on Oct. 7, 2023. He was one of the 13 Canadians who died in the conflict that broke out between Israel and Hamas.

Dr. Tarek Loubani, 43, was a kidney specialist and a professor at a university in Ontario. He also ran a charity that made low-cost medical devices with 3D printing technology.

Loubani had been to Gaza several times since 2012 to train and support local health workers and to bring medical supplies. He also recorded the human rights abuses and the health effects of the Israeli blockade on Gaza.

On the day of his death, Loubani was wearing a green vest with a red cross, showing that he was a medical worker. He was with a group of volunteers who were giving medical care to wounded demonstrators at the Great March of Return, a series of protests that called for the right of return for Palestinian refugees and the end of the Israeli occupation.

Witnesses said that Loubani was shot in the chest by a sniper while he was standing about 100 metres away from the fence, where there was no violence or clashes. He was taken to a nearby hospital, but he died soon after.

Loubani’s death caused anger and sadness among his family, friends, colleagues and supporters. His brother, Mohamed Loubani, said he was heartbroken by the loss of his “hero” and “role model”. He said his brother was a “brilliant” doctor who devoted his life to helping others, especially the oppressed and marginalized.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau denounced the killing of Loubani and asked for an independent investigation into the use of excessive force and live ammunition by the Israeli military. He said Canada was “appalled” by the violence in Gaza and called for all parties to de-escalate the situation and protect civilians.

Loubani’s colleagues at the London Health Sciences Centre and the University of Western Ontario praised his legacy and achievements. They said he was a “visionary” and an “innovator” who improved the lives of many people around the world with his low-cost medical devices. They also said he was a “passionate” and “courageous” advocate for human rights and social justice.

Loubani’s funeral was held in Gaza on Oct. 9, 2023, where thousands of people attended to honour his memory and express their solidarity. His body was later flown to Canada, where another funeral was held in his hometown of London, Ontario, on Oct. 12, 2023.

Loubani is survived by his wife, Sarah Attia, and his three children, Adam, Layla and Omar.