Israeli troops fire at Gaza protests; 9 wounded

14 April, 2018, 11:56 | Author: Dustin Murphy
  • 11 Palestinians injured by Israeli soldiers

Six Palestinian protesters were wounded on the Gaza-Israel border on Friday as Israeli troops fired on demonstrators hurling stones and burning tyres near the frontier fence.

Smaller groups moved closer to the fence, throwing stones, torching tires and burning large Israeli flags.

Protesters waved Palestinian flags - and others set fire to Israeli ones - while chanting pro-resistance slogans along the border fence.

Gaza health officials say at least 112 Palestinians have been wounded in today's protest, the third of this scale in two weeks. Ten medics were treated for tear gas inhalation after a canister landed in their site. Some in the crowd threw firebombs and an explosive device and tried cross into Israel, according to the Israeli military.

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

Several thousand people gathered Friday at a tent camp east of Gaza City. The Gaza Health Ministry said three Palestinians had been wounded by Israeli fire.

Why has Abbas gone silent on Gaza protests?

Marchers protest against a decade-old blockade and assert what they say is a "right of return" of Palestinian refugees to what is now Israel.

"I am not afraid of death because there is no life in Gaza already".


On Friday, most of the demonstrators assembled at five tent camps located several hundred meters (yards) from the border fence.

The Israeli government accuses Hamas, the Islamist movement that has ruled Gaza largely since Israeli soldiers and settlers withdrew in 2005, of having instigated the protests and of using them as cover to launch attacks.

Palestinians say protesters are being shot while posing no threat to soldiers, and UN Secretary-General Antonio Guterres and the European Union have called for an independent investigation.

Gaza's Health Ministry said that 969 people were hurt Friday, including 223 by live fire and the rest by tear gas, rubber-coated steel pellets or shrapnel.

Israel claimed he was a paid member of Hamas, but produced no evidence. "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.

Rights groups have strongly criticised Israeli forces while pointing to unverified videos that have spread online of Gazans appearing to be shot, including one seeming to show a Palestinian targeted as he ran away from the fence while holding a tyre.

Israel says it is doing what it must to defend its border, and to stop any of the protesters getting across the fence.

Organisers also again said they want the protest to be peaceful this week, but it is unclear to what extent they or even Hamas remain in control. That day will mark the 70th anniversary of Israel's establishment - an event Palestinians refer to as the "Nakba" or "Catastrophe".

Gaza has endured a border blockade by Israel and Egypt since Hamas overran the territory in 2007, a year after winning Palestinian parliament elections.

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