Preparing For The Sixth Seal (Revelation 6)

 

Preparing for the Great New York Earthquake

by Mike MullerinShare

Most New Yorkers probably view the idea of a major earthquake hitting New York City as a plot device for a second-rate disaster movie. In a city where people worry about so much — stock market crashes, flooding, a terrorist attack — earthquakes, at least, do not have to be on the agenda.

A recent report by leading seismologists associated with Columbia University, though, may change that. The report concludes a serious quake is likely to hit the area.

The implication of this finding has yet to be examined. Although earthquakes are uncommon in the area relative to other parts of the world like California and Japan, the size and density of New York City puts it at a higher risk of damage. The type of earthquake most likely to occur here would mean that even a fairly small event could have a big impact.

The issue with earthquakes in this region is that they tend to be shallow and close to the surface,” explains Leonardo Seeber, a coauthor of the report. “That means objects at the surface are closer to the source. And that means even small earthquakes can be damaging.”

The past two decades have seen an increase in discussions about how to deal with earthquakes here. The most recent debate has revolved around the Indian Point nuclear power plant, in Buchanan, N.Y., a 30-mile drive north of the Bronx, and whether its nuclear reactors could withstand an earthquake. Closer to home, the city adopted new codes for its buildings even before the Lamont report, and the Port Authority and other agencies have retrofitted some buildings. Is this enough or does more need to be done? On the other hand, is the risk of an earthquake remote enough that public resources would be better spent addressing more immediate — and more likely — concerns?

Assessing the Risk

The report by scientists from the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University at summarizes decades of information on earthquakes in the area gleaned from a network of seismic instruments, studies of earthquakes from previous centuries through archival material like newspaper accounts and examination of fault lines.

The city can expect a magnitude 5 quake, which is strong enough to cause damage, once every 100 years, according to the report. (Magnitude is a measure of the energy released at the source of an earthquake.) The scientists also calculate that a magnitude 6, which is 10 times larger, has a 7 percent chance of happening once every 50 years and a magnitude 7 quake, 100 times larger, a 1.5 percent chance. Nobody knows the last time New York experienced quakes as large as a 6 or 7, although if once occurred it must have taken place before 1677, since geologists have reviewed data as far back as that year.

The last magnitude 5 earthquake in New York City hit in 1884, and it occurred off the coast of Rockaway Beach. Similar earthquakes occurred in 1737 and 1783.

By the time of the 1884 quake, New York was already a world class city, according to Kenneth Jackson, editor of The Encyclopedia of New York City.”In Manhattan,” Jackson said, “New York would have been characterized by very dense development. There was very little grass.”

A number of 8 to 10 story buildings graced the city, and “in world terms, that’s enormous,” according to Jackson. The city already boasted the world’s most extensive transportation network, with trolleys, elevated trains and the Brooklyn Bridge, and the best water system in the country. Thomas Edison had opened the Pearl Street power plant two years earlier.

All of this infrastructure withstood the quake fairly well. A number of chimneys crumbled and windows broke, but not much other damage occurred. Indeed, the New York Times reported that people on the Brooklyn Bridge could not tell the rumble was caused by anything more than the cable car that ran along the span.

Risks at Indian Point

As dense as the city was then though, New York has grown up and out in the 124 years since. Also, today’s metropolis poses some hazards few, if any people imagined in 1884.

In one of their major findings, the Lamont scientists identified a new fault line less than a mile from Indian Point. That is in addition to the already identified Ramapo fault a couple of miles from the plant. This is seen as significant because earthquakes occur at faults and are the most powerful near them.

This does not represent the first time people have raised concerns about earthquakes near Indian Point. A couple of years after the licenses were approved for Indian Point 2 in 1973 and Indian Point 3 in 1975, the state appealed to the Atomic Safety and Licensing Appeal Panel over seismic issues. The appeal was dismissed in 1976, but Michael Farrar, one of three members on the panel, dissented from his colleagues.

He thought the commission had not required the plant to be able to withstand the vibration that could occur during an earthquake. “I believe that an effort should be made to ascertain the maximum effective acceleration in some other, rational, manner,” Farrar wrote in his dissenting opinion. (Acceleration measures how quickly ground shaking speeds up.)

Con Edison, the plants’ operator at the time, agreed to set up seismic monitoring instruments in the area and develop geologic surveys. The Lamont study was able to locate the new fault line as a result of those instruments.

Ironically, though, while scientists can use the data to issue reports — the federal Nuclear Regulatory Commission cannot use it to determine whether the plant should have its license renewed. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission only considers the threat of earthquakes or terrorism during initial licensing hearings and does not revisit the issue during relicensing.

Lynn Sykes, lead author of the Lamont report who was also involved in the Indian Point licensing hearings, disputes that policy. The new information, he said, should be considered — “especially when considering a 20 year license renewal.”

The state agrees. Last year, Attorney General Andrew Cuomo began reaching out to other attorneys general to help convince the commission to include these risks during the hearings.

Cuomo and the state Department of Environmental Conservation delivered a 312-page petition to the commission that included reasons why earthquakes posed a risk to the power plants. The petition raised three major concerns regarding Indian Point:

• The seismic analysis for Indian Point plants 2 and 3 did not consider decommissioned Indian Point 1. The state is worried that something could fall from that plant and damage the others.

• The plant operators have not updated the facilities to address 20 years of new seismic data in the area.

• The state contends that Entergy, the plant’s operator, has not been forthcoming. “It is not possible to verify either what improvements have been made to [Indian Point] or even to determine what improvements applicant alleges have been implemented,” the petition stated.

A spokesperson for Entergy told the New York Times that the plants are safe from earthquakes and are designed to withstand a magnitude 6 quake.

Lamont’s Sykes thinks the spokesperson must have been mistaken. “He seems to have confused the magnitude scale with intensity scale,” Sykes suggests. He points out that the plants are designed to withstand an event on the intensity scale of VII, which equals a magnitude of 5 or slightly higher in the region. (Intensity measures the effects on people and structures.) A magnitude 6 quake, in Sykes opinion, would indeed cause damage to the plant.

The two reactors at Indian Point generate about 10 percent of the state’s electricity. Since that power is sent out into a grid, it isn’t known how much the plant provides for New York City. Any abrupt closing of the plant — either because of damage or a withdrawal of the operating license — would require an “unprecedented level of cooperation among government leaders and agencies,” to replace its capacity, according to a 2006 report by the National Academies’ National Research Council, a private, nonprofit institution chartered by Congress.Indian Point Nuclear Plant

Entergy’s Indian Point Energy Center, a three-unit nuclear power plant north of New York City, lies within two miles of the Ramapo Seismic Zone.

Beyond the loss of electricity, activists worry about possible threats to human health and safety from any earthquake at Indian Point. Some local officials have raised concerns that radioactive elements at the plant, such as tritium and strontium, could leak through fractures in bedrock and into the Hudson River. An earthquake could create larger fractures and, so they worry, greater leaks.

In 2007, an earthquake hit the area surrounding Japan’s Kashiwazaki-Kariwa nuclear power plant, the world’s largest. The International Atomic Energy Agency determined “there was no significant damage to the parts of the plant important to safety,” from the quake. According to the agency, “The four reactors in operation at the time in the seven-unit complex shut down safely and there was a very small radioactive release well below public health and environmental safety limits.” The plant, however, remains closed.

Shaking the Streets

A quake near Indian Point would clearly have repercussions for New York City. But what if an earthquake hit one of the five boroughs?

In 2003, public and private officials, under the banner of the New York City Area Consortium for Earthquake Loss Mitigation, released a study of what would happen if a quake hit the metropolitan area today. Much of the report focused on building damage in Manhattan. It used the location of the 1884 quake, off the coast of Rockaway Beach, as its modern muse.

If a quake so serious that it is expected to occur once every 2,500 years took place off Rockaway, the consortium estimated it would cause $11.5 billion in damage to buildings in Manhattan. About half of that would result from damage to residential buildings. Even a moderate magnitude 5 earthquake would create an estimated 88,000 tons of debris (10,000 truckloads), which is 136 times the garbage cleared in Manhattan on an average day, they found.

The report does not estimate possible death and injury for New York City alone. But it said that, in the tri-state area as a whole, a magnitude 5 quake could result in a couple of dozen deaths, and a magnitude 7 would kill more than 6,500 people.

Ultimately, the consortium decided retrofitting all of the city’s buildings to prepare them for an earthquake would be “impractical and economically unrealistic,” and stressed the importance of identifying the most vulnerable areas of the city.

Unreinforced brick buildings, which are the most common type of building in Manhattan, are the most vulnerable to earthquakes because they do not absorb motion as well as more flexible wood and steel buildings. Structures built on soft soil are more also prone to risk since it amplifies ground shaking and has the potential to liquefy during a quake.

This makes the Upper East Side the most vulnerable area of Manhattan, according to the consortium report. Because of the soil type, the ground there during a magnitude 7 quake would shake at twice the acceleration of that in the Financial District. Chinatown faces considerable greater risk for the same reasons.

The city’s Office of Emergency Management agency does offer safety tips for earthquakes. It advises people to identify safe places in their homes, where they can stay until the shaking stops, The agency recommends hiding under heavy furniture and away from windows and other objects that could fall.

A special unit called New York Task Force 1 is trained to find victims trapped in rubble. The Office of Emergency Management holds annual training events for the unit.

The Buildings Department created its first seismic code in 1995. More recently, the city and state have adopted the International Building Code (which ironically is a national standard) and all its earthquake standards. The “international” code requires that buildings be prepared for the 2,500-year worst-case scenario.

Transportation Disruptions

With the state’s adoption of stricter codes in 2003, the Port Authority went back and assessed its facilities that were built before the adoption of the code, including bridges, bus terminals and the approaches to its tunnels. The authority decided it did not have to replace any of this and that retrofitting it could be done at a reasonable cost.

The authority first focused on the approaches to bridges and tunnels because they are rigid and cannot sway with the earth’s movement. It is upgrading the approaches to the George Washington Bridge and Lincoln Tunnel so they will be prepared for a worst-case scenario. The approaches to the Port Authority Bus Terminal on 42nd Street are being prepared to withstand two thirds of a worst-case scenario.

The terminal itself was retrofitted in 2007. Fifteen 80-foot tall supports were added to the outside of the structure.

A number of the city’s bridges could be easily retrofitted as well “in an economical and practical manner,” according to a study of three bridges by the consulting firm Parsons Brinckerhoff. Those bridges include the 102nd Street Bridge in Queens, and the 145th Street and Macombs Dam bridges, which span the Harlem River. To upgrade the 155th Street Viaduct, the city will strengthen its foundation and strengthen its steel columns and floor beams.

The city plans upgrades for the viaduct and the Madison Avenue bridge in 2010. The 2008 10-year capital strategy for the city includes $596 million for the seismic retrofitting of the four East River bridges, which is planned to begin in 2013. But that commitment has fluctuated over the years. In 2004, it was $833 million.

For its part, New York City Transit generally is not considering retrofitting its above ground or underground structures, according to a report presented at the American Society of Civil Engineers in 2004. New facilities, like the Second Avenue Subway and the Fulton Transit Center will be built to new, tougher standards.

Underground infrastructure, such as subway tunnels, electricity systems and sewers are generally safer from earthquakes than above ground facilities. But secondary effects from quakes, like falling debris and liquefied soil, could damage these structures.

Age and location — as with buildings — also add to vulnerability. “This stuff was laid years ago,” said Rae Zimmerman, professor of planning and public administration at New York University. “A lot of our transit infrastructure and water pipes are not flexible and a lot of the city is on sandy soil.” Most of Lower Manhattan, for example, is made up of such soil.

She also stresses the need for redundancy, where if one pipe or track went down, there would be another way to go. “The subway is beautiful in that respect,” she said. “During 9/11, they were able to avoid broken tracks.”

Setting Priorities

The city has not made preparing its infrastructure for an earthquake a top priority — and some experts think that makes sense.

“On the policy side, earthquakes are a low priority,” said Guy Nordenson, a civil engineer who was a major proponent of the city’s original seismic code, “and I think that’s a good thing.” He believes there are more important risks, such as dealing with the effects of climate change.

“There are many hazards, and any of these hazards can be as devastating, if not more so, than earthquakes,” agreed Mohamed Ettouney, who was also involved in writing the 1995 seismic code.

In fact, a recent field called multi-hazard engineering has emerged. It looks at the most efficient and economical way to prepare for hazards rather than preparing for all at once or addressing one hazard after the other. For example, while addressing one danger (say terrorism) identified as a priority, it makes sense to consider other threats that the government could prepare for at the same time (like earthquakes).

Scientists from Lamont-Doherty are also not urging anybody to rush to action in panic. Their report is meant to be a first step in a process that lays out potential hazards from earthquakes so that governments and businesses can make informed decisions about how to reduce risk.

“We now have a 300-year catalog of earthquakes that has been well calibrated” to estimate their size and location, said Sykes. “We also now have a 34-year study of data culled from Lamont’s network of seismic instruments.”

“Earthquake risk is not the highest priority in New York City, nor is dog-poop free sidewalks,” Seeber recently commented. But, he added, both deserve appropriately rational responses.

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‚Catastrophic Situation‘ Imminent Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)

‚Catastrophic situation‘ imminent as Gaza’s children hospitals nearly out of fuel

A spokesperson for Gaza’s health ministry has warned of a „catastrophic situation“ as hospitals, including ones for children, are forced to close down due to a lack of fuel.

„Hundreds of patients at Gaza hospitals will be facing an unknown fate when their electric generators shut down due to the fuel crisis,“ said Ashraf al-Qedra on Saturday, commenting on a situation that has been exacerbated by Israel’s decision to block vital Qatari funds to the besieged strip.

„The coming hours are crucial at: Al-Nasr Hospital for Children; Al-Rantisi for Children, Ophthalmology, Psychiatry; and Abu Yusif Al Najjar Hospital,“ said Qedra.

„Patients in Gaza are crying for their unknown fate.“

The ministry had announced on Thursday that the Beit Hanoun hospital, in the besieged strip’s north, had already stopped providing services due to a lack of fuel needed to operate generators.

„The cessation of vital services at the Beit Hanoun hospital means that 340,000 people are deprived of receiving treatment, surgical procedures and laboratory services, as well as disrupting work in the emergency department,“ a spokesman said.

Qatar grant blocked

In 2017, Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas pulled the plug on Palestinian Authority (PA) funds for fuel in the Gaza Strip, part of a number of moves to squeeze Hamas, the PA’s rival movement which governs Gaza.

Hamas and Abbas’s Fatah party, which dominates the PA in the occupied West Bank, have been at odds since 2007, when the movement took control of the coastal enclave.

Soon after Israel imposed a crippling siege on Gaza, which combined with several Israeli offensives and the PA-Hamas breakdown has devastated Gaza’s infrastructure and living conditions.

Abbas’s fuel embargo has only exacerbated this, with electricity supply about 50 percent of what it should be.

Gaza’s health ministry has kept its generators running through international donations, but now those funds are coming to an end.

A Qatari grant has helped keep the only power plant in Gaza active, reducing the number of hours hospitals need to reply on generators.

However, Israel has refused the entry of Qatari money into the Gaza Strip for a second week in a row, leaving public sector employees hired by Hamas unpaid and increasing tensions in the besieged enclave.

Qatar has promised to pay the salaries of public sector workers in Gaza by donating $15m over six months.

For the last two months, the employees have received their salaries. However, the latest batch of money has not been able to enter the Strip, leaving them unpaid.

„The disruption is an Israeli violation of understandings between the Palestinian factions and the occupation that were reached through Egyptian mediation,“ Hamas spokesman Hazem Qasem, told Middle East Eye.

‚Additional steps‘

Palestinians have been protesting against conditions in Gaza every Friday since 30 March as part of the Great March of Return.

The protest campaign calls for an end to the 12-year Israeli blockade on Gaza and for Palestinian refugees‘ right of return to the lands that their families fled during the establishment of the state of Israel in 1948.

More than 250 Palestinians in Gaza have been killed and thousands injured since the demonstrations began, mostly by Israeli fire during protests but also by air and tank strikes.

Two Israeli soldiers have been killed over the same period

Qasem said the protests will continue and the delaying of the Qatari money would increase the number of protesters along the border.

He said that the demonstrators may resort to „additional steps“ if the Israeli obstruction continues.

Friday protest

Within Israel, a wide debate is being waged over the government’s allowing of Qatari funds to enter the Gaza Strip, intensified by the proximity of Israeli elections to be held in April.

According to Israeli media reports, the decision whether to allow the grant to enter may depend on reaction to the size and ferociousness of the latest protests held on Friday.

At least 30 Palestinians were wounded by Israeli fire during the latest protests, according to Gaza’s health ministry.

The ministry said those wounded included two medics, but did not report that any were in life-threatening condition.

An Israeli army spokeswoman said approximately 14,000 Palestinians took part in „riots“ along the border, with protesters „burning tyres and hurling rocks at soldiers“.

Troops responded „in accordance with standard operating procedures,“ she said.

Critics say Israel’s blockade amounts to collective punishment of the impoverished enclave’s two million residents.

Egypt also upholds the siege, restricting movement in and out of Gaza on its border.

Trump and the New Nuclear Race

Trump, announcing new missile defense program, ramps up nuclear arms race 

By Andre Damon

19 January 2019

Speaking at the Pentagon Thursday, President Donald Trump announced the largest expansion of US missile defense forces since Ronald Reagan’s failed “Star Wars” program.

The announcement is the latest move in a global nuclear arms race in which the United States, Russia and China are rapidly expanding their nuclear arsenals, even as the Trump administration moves to tear up all restrictions on the development, deployment and use of nuclear weapons.

Trump has accelerated a $1 trillion nuclear modernization program put in place under Obama, while rushing the development of new US strategic bombers, nuclear submarines and “low-yield” nuclear weapons that are more likely to be used in combat.

At the same time, the White House has announced the United States’ intention to withdraw from the 1987 Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces (INF) Treaty as it prepares to ring Russia and China with short- and medium-range nuclear and conventional missiles.

While US missile defense strategy previously claimed to defend against the actions of smaller states such as North Korea and Iran, this year’s missile defense review more directly targets Russia and China. As the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) think tank wrote, “For the first time, the document puts Russia and China in the same sentence as missile defenses, making explicit what has hitherto been implicit.”

Speaking at the Pentagon Thursday, Trump declared that “foreign adversaries, competitors and rogue regimes are steadily enhancing their missile arsenals… Their arsenals are getting bigger and stronger.”

Trump’s remarks echoed the themes of the Pentagon report he was presenting. “Military superiority is not a birthright,” the report states. “The scale and urgency of change required to renew our conventional and missile defense overmatch should not be underestimated.”

The report goes on to threaten: “To our competitors: We see what you are doing, and we are taking action.”

Congress has approved $10.3 billion for the US missile defense agency this fiscal year, a figure that is poised to skyrocket if Trump’s plans are carried through.

In his Pentagon appearance, Trump did not attempt to hide the fact that he was using the prospect of billions of dollars in additional military funding to solicit political support. Responding to applause as he took the podium, Trump told the military audience, “You’re only doing that because I gave you the greatest and biggest budget in our history. And I’ve now done it two times. And I hate to tell the rest of the world, but I’m about to do it three times. So that’s the only reason you gave me such a nice welcome.”

Despite the bitter factional warfare in Washington, there is overwhelming bipartisan agreement on the vast and perpetual expansion of the military. Last June, the Senate approved, on an 85-10 vote, an $82 billion increase in the Pentagon budget, bringing annual spending to $716 billion. The colossal levels of military spending are almost never discussed in the media and the money is appropriated without question.

The diversion of funds into military appropriations and the pockets of defense contractors is even more shameless in connection with missile defense than with other types of military spending, because the efficacy of missile defense is, according to experts, largely illusory.

Missile defense is “the longest running scam in the history of the Department of Defense,” wrote Joseph Cirincione, president of the Ploughshares Fund, and “the new Missile Defense Review continues that proud tradition.”

Since President Reagan first announced his “Star Wars” initiative, the United States has spent some $300 billion on missile defense systems. Cirincione observed that “a decade after the start of ‘Star Wars,’ having spent tens of billions of dollars on X-ray lasers, directed energy weapons, particle-beam weapons, space-based kinetic interceptors and ‘brilliant pebbles,’ the Pentagon was forced to conclude that none of these fanciful concepts would work. We ended up with a concept of limited, ground-based interceptors that might be able to intercept one or two primitive long-range warheads.”

But the extremely limited effectiveness of the US missile defense systems did not prevent Trump from making sweeping claims about US capabilities. “Our goal is simple: to ensure that we can detect and destroy any missile launched against the United States anywhere, anytime, anyplace,” he said.

“We will destroy every type of missile attack against any American target, whether before or after launch,” he added.

In reality, current US missile defenses are not capable of reliably destroying modern ICBMs possessed by Russia or China, much less the new generation of hypersonic reentry vehicles that the two countries are deploying.

Trump’s statements reflect the two most essential characteristics of American military policy since the fall of the Soviet Union: boundless, often delusional, hubris and a total lack of restraint. Given the series of blank checks Congress keeps writing, it is likely that Trump’s announcement will be the start of a new “Star Wars” boondoggle—turning over hundreds of billions more dollars for fanciful proposals.

However, the dubious efficacy of these initiatives does not lessen their deadly implications. The entire program is part of accelerating preparations for nuclear war, in which US imperialism is preparing to use offensive nuclear weapons.

For all the money Trump’s new missile defense system will consume, the primary mechanism for ensuring that no missiles reach the United States in the event of war is the threat to destroy the entire landmass of a potential opponent with nuclear weapons. “The United States will continue to rely upon nuclear deterrence for strategic nuclear attack from major powers,” the CSIS declares.

The central aim of the Trump administration’s Nuclear Posture Review, released last year, was to de-stigmatize the use of nuclear weapons by expanding the range of possible scenarios in which the president could respond with a nuclear strike.

As numerous studies have made clear, a nuclear exchange between the United States and Russia or between the United States and China, beyond an initial death toll in the hundreds of millions, would result in a climatological phenomenon known as nuclear winter, entailing a long-term drop in global temperatures that would make agriculture impossible and wipe out the entire human race.

Ayatollah Says Time for Fire

Conservative Ayatollah Says Nuclear Agreement Must Be ‚Burned‘

Radio Farda

Amid the controversy over the fate of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or Tehran’s nuclear deal with world powers, an influential ayatollah says, „Ultimately, the deal should be burned.“

Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, 91, who chairs the influential Assembly of experts, is an ultraconservative cleric and longtime opponent of JCPOA. He often echoes the views of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

„Europe is not helping preserve JCPOA by demanding additional negotiations on issues like missiles“, IRNA reported Jannati as saying on Tuesday, September 4, 2018.

Meanwhile, on Thursday, January 17, the official news agency IRNA had quoted an „EU spokesperson“ as having said „on the condition of anonymity“ that the Special Purpose Vehicle (SPV) for trade with Iran „is about to become operational.“

Nevertheless, hours later, a European Union official in Brussels denied the report. RFE/RL’s correspondent in Brussels said that a senior EU official told reporters the SPV is not ready yet and added that the trade issue is part of a larger bundle of issues related to Iran.

The official spoke at a briefing on the condition of anonymity. He added that the SPV „is not ready“ yet.

Since the withdrawal of Washington from JCPOA last May, EU has been trying to keep Tehran committed to the deal through SPV. Nonetheless, EU members have been reluctant to host the SPV so far.

Tehran has been putting pressure on Europe arguing that without economic benefits there is no point in staying committed to the nuclear agreement. In return Europe has been promising to establish a trading mechanism to facilitate trade with Iran, using more of a barter system, rather than a regular banking payment system that can violate U.S. sanctions.

In his latest anti-JCPOA remarks, Jannati has reflected the position of the Islamic Republic’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the deal.

Ayatollah Jannati and other Iranian hardliners have repeatedly accused EU of implying delaying tactics in its negotiations with Iran.

Immediately after President Donald Trump declared that Washington would drop JCPOA, Khamenei fired back, by saying, „If Americans tear up the JCPOA, we will burn it.“

Referring to the comment, Jannati has blamed President Hassan Rouhani’s Administration for not burning the deal as Khamenei wished.

„Ultimately, you (the government) will burn JCPOA,“ Jannati insisted, adding, „Beyond the shadow of a doubt, Europe, if not worse, is not better than the US. EU is also wasting time. To depend on Europe is outright stupidity.“

30 Palestinians Injured Outside the Temple Walls (Revelation 11:2)zyn

30 Palestinians injured in clashes in eastern Gaza: medics

A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot to throw back a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops during clashes on the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, on Jan. 18, 2019. At least 30 Palestinians were injured in clashes on Friday between hundreds of protesters and Israeli soldiers stationed at the borderline of eastern Gaza Strip, according to Gaza medics. (Xinhua)

GAZA, Jan. 18 (Xinhua) — At least 30 Palestinians were injured in clashes on Friday between hundreds of protesters and Israeli soldiers stationed at the borderline of eastern Gaza Strip, according to Gaza medics.

At least 30 Palestinian demonstrators were shot and wounded by Israeli soldiers‘ gunfire during clashes in eastern Gaza Strip, said Ashraf al-Qedra, a spokesman of the Health Ministry in Gaza.

The Gaza-based Al-Sha’b (people) Radio reported that demonstrators threw stones at the soldiers stationed on the border, who fired back tear gas and live gunshots at the demonstrators.

Since March 30 last year, people in Gaza started the weekly anti-Israel rallies called the „Great March of Return.“

„All the casualties were either treated in the field or transferred to the hospitals,“ said al-Qedra.

Around 20,000 demonstrators gathered in eastern Gaza Strip close to the border with Israel, waving Palestinian flags and chanting anti-Israel slogans, said the eyewitnesses.

The protesters demand for allowing the shipment of the 15 million U.S. dollars, a third installment of the Qatari grant to Gaza to pay the salaries of Hamas employees, and relaxing a blockade that Israel has been imposing on the Gaza Strip since 2007.

Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops on the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, on Jan. 18, 2019. At least 30 Palestinians were injured in clashes on Friday between hundreds of protesters and Israeli soldiers stationed at the borderline of eastern Gaza Strip, according to Gaza medics. (Xinhua)

Palestinian medics carry a wounded man during clashes with Israeli troops on the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, on Jan. 18, 2019. At least 30 Palestinians were injured in clashes on Friday between hundreds of protesters and Israeli soldiers stationed at the borderline of eastern Gaza Strip, according to Gaza medics. (Xinhua)

Palestinian protesters clash with Israeli troops on the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, on Jan. 18, 2019. At least 30 Palestinians were injured in clashes on Friday between hundreds of protesters and Israeli soldiers stationed at the borderline of eastern Gaza Strip, according to Gaza medics. (Xinhua)

A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot to throw back a tear gas canister fired by Israeli troops during clashes on the Gaza-Israel border, east of Gaza City, on Jan. 18, 2019. At least 30 Palestinians were injured in clashes on Friday between hundreds of protesters and Israeli soldiers stationed at the borderline of eastern Gaza Strip, according to Gaza medics. (Xinhua)

A Palestinian protester uses a slingshot to hurl stones at Israeli troops during clashes on the Gaza-Israel border, east of the southern Gaza Strip City of Khan Younis, on Jan. 18, 2019. About 20 Palestinians were wounded on Friday in clashes near the Gaza-Israel border, according to the report of Gaza’s Health Ministry. (Xinhua/Khaled Omar)

Palestinian medics carry a wounded man during clashes with Israeli troops on the Gaza-Israel border, east of the southern Gaza Strip City of Khan Younis, on Jan. 18, 2019. About 20 Palestinians were wounded on Friday in clashes near the Gaza-Israel border, according to the report of Gaza’s Health Ministry. (Xinhua/Khaled Omar)