Palestinians in Gaza have marched in their thousands to the Israel border at the start of a six-week-long protest. Palestinian officials say one farmer and one protester have been killed and dozens of demonstrators wounded by Israeli gunfire. The Israeli military reported "rioting" at six places and said it was "firing towards main instigators". Palestinians have pitched five camps near the border for the protest, dubbed the Great March of Return. The Israel Defense Forces (IDF) said there were about 17,000 Palestinians in five locations along the border fence.
KHUZAA, GAZA STRIP – Thousands of Palestinians protested along Gaza's sealed border with Israel on Friday, engulfing the volatile area in black smoke from burning tires to try to block the view of Israeli snipers and cheering a Hamas strongman who pledged that the border fence will eventually fall. Israeli troops opened fire from across the border, killing at least nine Palestinians and wounding 491 others -- 33 of them seriously -- in the second mass border protest in a week, Gaza health officials said. A well-known Palestinian journalist was among the dead, and hundreds of others suffered other injuries, including tear gas inhalation, the officials said. The deaths brought to at least 31 the number of Palestinians killed by Israeli fire since the previous week. Early Saturday, Palestinian health officials confirmed that Yasser Murtaga had died from a gunshot wound sustained while covering demonstrations near the Israeli border in Khuzaa.
UNITED NATIONS – The U.N. Security Council plans to meet Tuesday to discuss violence along the border between Israel and the Gaza Strip, following the deadliest day there since a 2014 war. Kuwait called for the session after more than 50 Palestinians were killed and over 1,200 wounded by Israeli gunfire amid mass protests Monday. Israel said its troops were defending its border and accused Hamas militants of trying to attack under the cover of the protest. It was not immediately clear what might come out of the council session. No joint statement or action followed a similar meeting after protests in March, and two U.N. diplomats said members couldn't reach unanimous agreement Monday on issuing a proposed statement circulated by Kuwait.
GAZA CITY, GAZA STRIP – Thousands of Palestinians marched to Gaza's border with Israel on Friday in the largest such demonstration in recent memory, and 15 were killed by Israeli fire on the first day of what Hamas organizers said will be six weeks of daily protests against a stifling border blockade. It was the bloodiest day in the strip since the 2014 cross-border war between Israel and Hamas. Fourteen of the marchers were killed and more than 750 wounded by Israeli fire in clashes along the border fence, the Palestinian Health Ministry said. Another Palestinian was killed earlier Friday. The Israeli military said thousands of Palestinians threw stones and rolled burning tires toward troops deployed on the other side of the border fence.
Jerusalem – Israel's defense minister says troops acted appropriately by only firing on Palestinian protesters who charged toward Gaza's border with Israel. Avigdor Lieberman said Sunday that those who protested peacefully were not harmed, and he rejected accusations of excessive use of force in the mass protests Friday in which 15 Palestinians were killed. It was the area's deadliest violence in four years. Gaza's ruling militant Hamas group has touted the protests as the launch of a six-week campaign against the territory's decade-old blockade. Israel says thousands of Palestinians approached the border, with hundreds engaged in acts of violence ranging from rock-throwing to hurling firebombs to opening fire at Israeli troops guarding the border.