Gaza border protests turn deadly again in clashes with Israeli forces

Protests have continued to take place on the Gaza border today as thousands of Palestinians demonstrate for the fourth week as part of the "Great March of Return", leaving at least two dead and dozens injured.

His death brings the number of Gazans killed by Israeli forces in demonstrations and clashes since March 30 to 35, according to Gaza's health ministry.

Approximately 3,000 Palestinians on Friday participated in the riots in five locations along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, according to a statement issued by the Israeli Defense Forces (IDF).

"Hamas continues to encourage violence against Israel while rioters use Molotov Cocktails and other means to damage the border fence and try and return to Israeli territory", Danon said.

Earlier in the day, Israel had airdropped leaflets into the area, telling residents that Gaza's rulers, Hamas, which supports the movement, "is taking advantage of you in order to carry out terror attacks".

An investigation by the Jerusalem-based human rights group B'Tselem revealed that IDF soldiers have also deployed tear gas on the family encampments that are located several hundred meters away from the border fence.

Israeli media named the four dead protesters as Ahmad Nabil Abu Aqel, 25; Mohammed Ayoub, 15; Ahmad Rashad Al-Atamana, 24; and Said Abd Al-Aal Abu Taha, 19.

"I say to our people everywhere, be prepared for a human deluge on all of the borders of Palestine, inside the occupied land and outside the occupied land", he said on a visit to one of the border camps. Israel responded with air strikes on Hamas targets in Gaza.

Hamas said the demonstrations will culminate in a mass march on May 15.

Israel's Intelligence minister, Israel Katz, said on Friday that targeted killings of Hamas leadership will be renewed if Islamic Jihad follows through on Thursday's threats to kill Israeli soldiers and generals.

Since 1948, the Israeli regime has denied Palestinian refugees the right to return, despite United Nations resolutions and global law that upholds people's right to return to their homelands.

On Friday they fitted kites with cans of flammable liquid, which they flew across the border to start fires in Israel.

Israel's Foreign Ministry tweeted a photograph of one kite daubed with a swastika flying through the sky trailing flames.

"Thanks to the IDF's activity, week by week there is a drop in the number of participants in the riots".

Mohammad Ibrahim Ayyup was shot in the head by the Israeli forces in protests east of Jabalia town in northern Gaza.

Israel has ruled out the demand, arguing that the return of Palestinians to what is now Israel would outnumber its Jewish majority.

The six-week protest is set to end on May 15th, the 70th anniversary of the Palestinian Nakba, or "catastrophe", which left hundreds of thousands of Palestinians as refugees.

  • Jon Douglas