By IDAN ZONSHINE,ANNA AHRONHEIM
Palestinians protest next to the border fence between Israel and the Gaza Strip, as it is seen from its Israeli side March 30, 2019. (photo credit:” AMIR COHEN/REUTERS)
Over 6000 Palestinians gathered along the border. Seventy six people were injured, forty six from live ammunition, according to Palestinian Health Services.
Two Palestinians were killed during massive protests along the Gaza border Friday evening. Reports say the first casualty is 17-year-old Ali Sami Al-Ashqar was killed east of Jabalia City. The second has been identified as 14 year old Khalid Al-Raba’i, a resident of the Ashati refugee camp. He was killed east of Gaza City.
Around 6200 Palestinians gathered along the border. Sixty six people were injured in the ensuing clash with IDF forces, forty six from live ammunition, according to Palestinian Health Services.
IEDs and Molotov cocktails were thrown towards IDF forces during the protests. Reports also say two grenades were also thrown at IDF jeeps near Han Younis.
Two Palestinians breached the northern border of Gaza, but were promptly caught and arrested by the IDF.
IDF spokesperson released a statement in response to the violence:
“Violent demonstrations during which around 6,200 protesters assembled in several locations along the Gaza border fence. The Demonstrations were of an especially violent nature which included a large amount of IEDs, grenades and Molotov cocktails being thrown towards IDF forces along the fence.”
“There is noticeable damage to the border fence in several locations, and there has been a rising number of attempts to approach the border fence. IDF forces recognized suspects crossing the border all through the strip, each quickly returning to Gazan territory. Two suspects that crossed the border fence in the north of the strip were arrested by IDF forces and brought to interrogation.”
Hamas spokesperson Hazem Qassem tweeted in response. “Violating the blood of peaceful demonstrators in the marches of return and deliberately targeting them is a crime that the occupation bears all its repercussions.”
Sources in the Gaza Strip say the protest organizers, along with Hamas, have been urging restraint over the past few weeks ahead of the protest, telling Palestinians to not go near the fence or blow incendiary balloons in an attempt to lessen casualties.
Friday’s events marked week 73 of the weekly demonstrations near the border. Last week, 25 year old Palestinian Bader Adin Abu Musa was shot and killed near Han Younes during the protests.