Monday, 16 July, 2018

Israeli troops open fire on Gaza protesters, one killed

In defense of a slain Palestinian journalist | Opinion Israel/OPT: Israeli forces must end the use of excessive force in response to “Great March of Return” protests
Lisa Bryan | 14 April, 2018, 21:29

One Palestinian was killed and hundreds were injured in confrontations with Israeli soldiers at multiple spots along Gaza's border with Israel following a third consecutive Friday of protests dubbed "Burning Flag Friday", in reference to the Israeli blue and white flag.

Previous to that on Thursday, Mohammed Abu Hajeela, 31, was killed by an Israeli air raid and succumbed to his wounds in Gaza's al-Shifa Hospital. It has said some of those at the border tried to damage the fence, planted explosives or hurled firebombs.

A Palestinian girl carries a burning tyre during clashes with Israeli security forces near the Gaza border on April 13, 2018. Prior to Friday, Israeli forces injured nearly 1,300 Palestinians with live fire, according to the Gaza Health Ministry's count calculated through computerized tracking. "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.

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.

Islamic Jihad's armed wing, in a statement, said four of its fighters had been killed during "preparations", without giving further details.

"We have seen lots of documented evidence on video of Palestinian protesters who were shot when they were in no way posing any imminent threat", says Yousef Munayyer, the executive director of the US Campaign for Palestinian Rights.

Violence has flared in the Gaza Strip since March 30, when Palestinians began protests along the border area with Israel.


Smaller groups moved closer to the fence, throwing stones, torching tires and burning large Israeli flags, US flags, as well as posters of Israel's prime minister and defense minister.

The Israeli army said that about 10,000 Palestinians protested on Friday along the Gaza border.

Organisers call the rolling protests the Great March of Return. Seven were killed in other circumstances, including six militants engaged in apparent attempts to carry out attacks or infiltrate Israel.

Sanders criticises both Hamas and Israel in the letter.

Yair Lapid, the leader of Israel's centrist Yesh Atid party, called Hamas a "despicable terror organization" and accused it of exploiting civilians.

The official end date of the protests is May 15, when Palestinians mark the Nakba, or "catastrophe", commemorating the more than 700,000 who fled or were expelled during the 1948 war surrounding Israel's creation.

An Israeli military spokesman said troops were being confronted by rioters and responded "with riot dispersal means while also firing in accordance with the rules of engagement".

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