Published: Sat, April 14, 2018

Scores wounded as Israeli troops fire on Gaza border protestors

Scores wounded as Israeli troops fire on Gaza border protestors

At least 30 Palestinians were injured in clashes along the Gaza-Israel border as thousands gathered for a third consecutive Friday of protests.

Israeli soldiers have been shooting teargas and live bullets from throughout the boundary fencing.

Gaza health officials say at least nine Palestinians have been wounded in Friday's protest, the third of this scale in two weeks.

There were so far fewer protesters on Friday than in the two previous demonstrations, which saw tens of thousands gather near the border with Israel at five locations.

Clashes between stone-throwing Palestinians and Israeli soldiers took place in multiple spots along the border while tear gas and plumes of black smoke from burning tyres filled the air in some areas.

An Israeli military spokesman its troops were "responding with riot dispersal means while also firing in accordance with the rules of engagement".

The protests, planned to last six weeks, are calling for Palestinian refugees to return to their former homes that are now inside Israel.

Even the marches are coordinated by Gaza's Islamic militant Hamas, however, turnout is also becoming pushed by desperation among the 2 million taxpayers of the territory.

The marchers are protesting against the blockade, but are also asserting what they say is a "right of return" of Palestinian refugees and their descendants to what is now Israel.


According to the Gaza health ministry, since the start of the protests, over 30 Palestinians have been killed and more than 1,300 got wounds.

Israel alleges Hamas is using protests as a cover for attacks.

On Friday, hundreds flocked to one of five camps near Gaza City, stepping on a large Israeli flag laid out on the ground at the entrance.

Hamas officials have said in recent days they want this week's protest to see less bloodshed and hope to keep momentum building for May 14, when the United States is expected to move its Israel embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem.

Gaza has endured a border blockade by Israel and Egypt since Hamas overran the territory in 2007, a year after winning Palestinian parliament elections. "If we are going to die, then let it not be in vain", said Ahmed, who refused to give his full name, fearing Israeli reprisals.

"The Israeli authorities must put an immediate end to the excessive and lethal force being used to suppress Palestinian demonstrations in Gaza", Amnesty International said on Friday.

"An order to open live fire at unarmed protesters is manifestly unlawful", it said. He said the Israeli military is "operating against it (Hamas) with determination and according to worldwide law".

The Israeli military has displayed video footage in which the frontier fence is seen being cut and breached during the recent clashes, with, Israel says, explosives planted there to target its troops.

"Instructing snipers to shoot to kill unarmed demonstrators who pose no danger to human life, is another product of the occupation and military rule over millions of Palestinian people, as well as of our country's callous leadership, and derailed moral path", said the statement.

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