Israeli forces wound 30 more Palestinians in Gaza-Israel border protests
GAZA BORDER – Reuters
Israeli troops shot and wounded 30 Palestinians on April 13 during a large protest on the Gaza-Israel border, where demonstrators hurled stones and burning tires near the frontier fence, Palestinian medics said.
Some in the Gaza crowd threw firebombs and an explosive device, according to the Israeli military.
Thousands of Palestinians arrived at tented camps near the frontier as a protest dubbed “The Great March of Return” - evoking a longtime call for refugees to regain ancestral homes in what is now Israel - moved into its third week.
Israeli troops have shot dead 30 Gaza Palestinians and wounded hundreds since the protests began, drawing international criticism of the lethal tactics used against them.
An Israeli military spokesman said troops were being confronted by rioters and “responding with riot dispersal means while also firing in accordance with the rules of engagement.”
On April 13, groups of youths waved Palestinian flags and burnt hundreds of tires and Israeli flags near the fenced-off border after Friday prayers. At one camp east of Gaza City, youths carried on their shoulders a coffin wrapped in an Israeli flag bearing the words “The End of Israel.”
Israel has declared a no-go zone close to the Gaza border fence, and deployed army sharpshooters along it.
No Israelis have been killed during the demonstrations, and human rights groups say the Israeli military has used live fire against demonstrators who pose no immediate threat to life.
Israel says it is doing what it must to defend its border, and to stop any of the protesters getting across the fence.
The planned six-week protest has revived a longstanding demand for the right of return of Palestinian refugees to towns and villages from which their families fled, or were driven out, when the state of Israel was created 70 years ago.