New protests, clashes on Gaza-Israel border after deadly violence

15 Abril, 2018, 05:25 | Author: Kelly Blake
  • New protests, clashes on Gaza-Israel border after deadly violence

Palestinians are still streaming to tent camps along Gaza's border with Israel for its third of what are to function as mass protests before mid-May.

According to the Palestinian Health Ministry, at least 30 Palestinians were injured on Friday amid attempts by the Israeli army to disperse demonstrators.

Thousands of Palestinians are staging a protest across Gaza boundary together with Israel with a few burning Israeli flags, projecting stones and torching tires.

The military said that demonstrators hurled an explosive device and several fire bombs near the fence in what it said was an apparent attempt to damage it.

One of the Palestinians was in critical condition, Palestinian medics said, as a protest dubbed "The Great March of Return" moved into its third week.

At one spot protesters were seen trying pull away barbed wire set up by Israeli forces to keep them away from the fence.

They burned tires to create a shield of a black foggy smoke. they also burned Israeli flags and raised Palestinian ones.

On Friday, hundreds of Jordanians demonstrated in Amman in solidarity with Palestinians.

Israel accuses Hamas, the Islamist movement that runs Gaza and with whom it has fought three wars since 2008, of using the protests as cover to carry out violence.

But 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.

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.

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Such weekly demonstrations are to continue to mid-May, keeping tensions high along the volatile border.

The idea of mass protests was initially floated by social media activists, but was later co-opted by Hamas, which avowedly seeks Israel's destruction, with the backing of smaller terror groups.

The Jewish state eventually claimed the man killed, Yasser Murtaja, was a paid member of Hamas, but produced no evidence.

Eyewitnesses said that dozens of Palestinian demonstrators managed to cut part of the fence of the border between eastern Gaza Strip and Israel.

The rallies began on March 30, when tens of thousands of Palestinians gathered at different points along the border to demand that they be allowed to return to their homes in historical Palestine.

Gaza leaders have planned a series of so-called Marches of Return culminating in a planned million-strong march in mid-May, to coincide with Israel's 70th Independence Day, the opening of the US Embassy in Jerusalem, and Nakba Day - when the Palestinians mark what they call the "catastrophe" that befell them with Israel's creation.

Hamas violently took control of Gaza from Mahmoud Abbas's Fatah in 2007, two years after Israel withdrew its military and civilian presence from the Strip.

Egypt has also largely sealed its border with the enclave in recent years, citing security reasons, though it is open this week between Thursday and Saturday in an unusual move.

Tensions have flared since the beginning of the protests.

Gaza's Health Ministry said more than 1,300 Palestinians were wounded by live fire in the past two weeks.

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