By AFP – Sep 30,2018 – JORDAN TIMES
Relatives of Mohammed Al Houm, 14, who was killed during a protest along the Israel-Gaza border fence, mourn during his funeral in the Bureij refugee camp, in central Gaza, on Saturday (AFP photo)
GAZA — Seven Palestinians, including two boys aged 12 and 14, were killed in confrontations with Israeli forces along the Gaza border on Friday, the Palestinian health ministry in the Hamas-controlled Gaza strip said.
It was the bloodiest day of border protests since May 14, when more than 60 Palestinians died in violence accompanying the inauguration of the US embassy in the occupied city of Jerusalem.
Nasser Mosabih, 12, Mohammed Al Houm, 14, and Iyad Al Shaar, 18, were shot dead on Friday in confrontations along the frontier with Israel, health ministry spokesman Ashraf Al Qudra told AFP.
Four men in their twenties were also killed in the widespread violence along the border, the spokesman said, adding that 210 people were hospitalised, including 90 with gunshot wounds.
Israeli occupation forces claimed in a statement that some 20,000 “rioters” had gathered at multiple sites along the border and that people had hurled “grenades and explosive devices in several different locations”.
They said forces fired “in accordance with standard operating procedures” and that an aircraft also struck two positions belonging the Islamic resistance movement in Gaza, Hamas.
Palestinians have been protesting at least weekly along the Gaza border since March 30 in what they call the “Great March of Return”.
Friday’s protests were bigger than those in recent weeks.
At least 193 Palestinians have been killed by Israeli fire since March, the majority during border protests, while one Israeli soldier has been shot dead by a Palestinian sniper.
The Israeli occupation forces declined to comment on Friday’s reported deaths.
It said in a statement that forces spotted several Palestinians breaching the border fence and briefly entering Israeli territory before fleeing back into Gaza.
The Israeli forces say Hamas is responsible for the unrest originating in the territory under its control.
The Israelis have launched three onslaughts against Gazans and the militant resistance there, Hamas, killing and injuring thousands of Palestinian, unarmed citizens, including hundreds of children.
Throughout the protests since March, Israel has said its actions are necessary to defend the border and accuses Hamas of using the protests as cover to attempt infiltrations and attacks.
Palestinians and human rights groups say protesters have been shot while posing no real threat.
The protests are demanding the right of Palestinian refugees to be allowed to return to homes their families fled in the 1948 war surrounding the creation of Israel.
Israel says any such mass return would mean the end of it as a Jewish state.
The march is also a protest against a more than 10-year-old Israeli blockade on the Gaza Strip.
Repeated deadly Palestinian confrontations with forces along the frontier have brought warnings of the risk of a new conflict.
The World Bank on Tuesday said that the Gaza Strip’s economy is in “free fall” as cuts to aid and salaries add to the effects of the already crippling Israeli blockade.